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Full text of "Burning Daylight"

!^ 



Presented to the 
LIBRARY oj the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

by 

Gershman 



i 



GERSH^TAW 



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witii funding from 

University of Toronto 



littp://www.arcliive.org/details/burningdayligliOOIond 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 



This is a presentation offer 
of the 

DAILY WORKER 

''Peoples Champion of Liberty, Progress, Peace 

and Prosperity'' 

Published every morning 

at 
50 East 13th St., New York 



BURNING 
DAYLIGHT 



JACK LONDON 



THE DAILY WORKER 




Coifeioaf, 1910, 
Bt the new YORK herald COMPAMY. 

COPTBIGHT, 1910, 

Br THE MACMILLAN COMPANY. 



All rights reserved 



V3 ^ 



Printed in the United States of America 
by Union Labor 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 






Treat xo« Llcdl .* 
end return xne \o 

GERSHMAN 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 



PART I 
CHAPTER I 

It was a quiet night in the Tivoli. At the bar, which 
ranged along one side of the large chinked-log room, leaned 
half a dozen men, two of whom were discussing the relative 
merits of spruce-tea and lime-juice as remedies for scurvy. 
They argued with an air of depression and with intervals of 
morose silence. The other men scarcely heeded them. In 
a row, against the opposite wall, were the gambling games. 
The crap-table was deserted. One lone man was playing 
at the faro-table. The roulette-ball was not even spinning, 
and the gamekeeper stood by the roaring, red-hot stove, 
talking with the young, dark-eyed woman, comely of face 
and figure, who was known from Juneau to Fort Yukon as 
the Virgin. Three men sat in at stud-poker, but they played 
with small chips and without enthusiasm, while there were 
no onlookers. On the floor of the dancing-room, which 
opened out at the rear, three couples were waltzing drearily 
to the strains of a violin and a piano. 

Circle City was not deserted, nor was money tight. The 
miners were in from Moosehide Creek and the other dig- 
gings to the west, the summer washing had been good, and 
the men's pouches were heavy with dust and nuggets. The 
Klondike had not yet been discovered, nor had the miners 
of the Yukon learned the possibilities of deep digging and 
wood-firing. No work was done in the winter, and they 
made a practice of hibernating in the large camps like 



2 BURNING DAYLKJHT 

Circle City during the long Arctic night. Time was heavy 
on their hands, their pouches were well filled, and the only 
social diversion to be found was in the saloons. Yet the 
Tivoli was practically deserted, and the Virgin, standing 
by the stove, yawned with uncovered mouth and said to 
Charley Bates: — 

"If something don't happen soon, I'm goin' to bed. 
What's the matter with the camp, anyway? Everybody 
dead?" 

Bates did not even trouble to reply, but went on moodily 
rolling a cigarette. Dan MacDonald, pioneer saloonman 
and gambler on the upper Yukon, owner and proprietor of 
the Tivoli and all its games, wandered forlornly across the 
great vacant space of floor and joined the two at the stove. 

"Anybody dead?" the Virgin asked him. 

"Looks like it," was the answer. 

"Then it must be the whole camp," she said with an air 
of finality and with another yawn. 

MacDonald grinned and nodded, and opened his mouth 
to speak, when the front door swung wide and a man ap>- 
peared in the Ught. A rush of frost, turned to vapor by 
the heat of the room, swirled about him to liis knees and 
poured on across the floor, growing thinner and thinner, 
and perishing a dozen feet from the stove. Taking the 
wisp broom from its nail inside the door, the newcomer 
brushed the snow from his moccasins and high German 
socks. He would have appeared a large man had not a 
huge French-Canadian stepped up to him from the bar 
and gripped his hand. 

"Hello, Daylight!" was his greeting. "By Gar, you 
good for sore eyes!" 

"Hello, Louis, when did you-all blow in?" returned the 
newcomer. "Come up and have a drink and tell us all 
about Bone Creek. Why, dong-gone you-all, shake again. 
Where's that pardner of yours? I'm looking for him." 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 3 

Another huge man detached himself from the bar to 
shake hands. Olaf Henderson and French Louis, partners 
together on Bone Creek, were the two largest men in the 
country, and though they were but half a head taller than 
the newcomer, between them he was dwarfed completely. 

"Hello, Olaf, you're my meat, savvee that," said the one 
called Daylight. "To-morrow's my birthday, and I'm going 
to put you-all on your back — sawee? And you, too, Louis. 
I can put you-all on your back on my birthday — savvee? 
Come up and drink, Olaf, and I'll tell you-all about it." 

The arrival of the newcomer seemed to send a flood 
of warmth through the place. "It's Burning Daylight," 
the Virgin cried, the first to recognize him as he came into 
the light. Charley Bates' tight features relaxed at the sight, 
and MacDonald went over and joined the three at the bar. 
With the advent of Burning Daylight the whole place 
became suddenly brighter and cheerier. The barkeepers 
were active. Voices were raised. Somebody laughed. 
And when the fiddler, peering into the front room, remarked 
to the pianist, "It's Burning Daylight," the waltz-time 
perceptibly quickened, and the dancers, catching the con- 
tagion, began to whirl about as if they really enjoyed it. 
It was known to them of old time that nothing languished 
when Burning Daylight was around. 

He turned from the bar and saw the woman by the stove 
and the eager look of welcome she extended him. 

"Hello, Virgin, old girl," he called. "Hello, Charley. 
What's the matter with you-all? Why wear faces like that 
when coffins cost only three ounces? Come up, you-all, and 
drink. Come up, you unburied dead, an' name your poison. 
Come up, everybody. This is my night, and I'm going to 
ride it. To-morrow I'm thirty, and then I'll be an old man. 
It's the last fling of youth. Are you-all with me? Surge 
along, then. Surge along. 

"Hold on there, Davis," he called to the faro-dealer, 



4 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

who had shoved his chair back from the table. "I'm going 
you one flutter to see whether you-all drink with me or we- 
all drink with you." 

Pulling a heavy sack of gold-dust from his coat pocket, 
he dropped it on the high card. 

"Fifty," he said. 

The faro-dealer slipped two cards. The high card won. 
He scribbled the amount on a pad, and the weigher at the 
bar balanced fifty dollars' worth of dust in the gold-scales 
and poured it into Burning Daylight's sack. The waltz in 
the back room being finished, the three couples, followed by 
the fiddler and the pianist and heading for the bar, caught 
Dayhght's eye. 

"Surge along, you-all!" he cried. "Surge along and 
name it. This is my night, and it ain't a night that comes 
frequent. Surge up, you Siwashes and Salmon-eaters. It's 
my night, I tell you-all — " 

"A blame mangy night," Charley Bates interpolated. 

"You're right, my son," Burning Daylight went on gayly. 
"A mangy night, but it's my night, you see. I'm the mangy 
old he-wolf. Listen to me howl." 

And howl he did, like a lone gray timber wolf, till the 
Virgin thrust her pretty fingers in her ears and shivered. 
A minute later she was whirled away in his arms to the 
dancing-floor, where, along with the other three women 
and their partners, a rollicking Virginia reel was soon in 
progress. Men and women danced in moccasins, and the 
place was soon a-roar. Burning Daylight the centre of it 
and the animating spark, with quip and jest and rough 
merriment rousing them out of the slough of despond in 
which he had found them. 

The atmosphere of the place changed with his coming. 
He seemed to fill it with his tremendous vitality. Men who 
entered from the street felt it immediately, and in response 
to their queries the barkeepers nodded at the back room. 



BUENING DAYLIGHT 5 

and said comprehensively, "Burning Daylight's on the 
tear." And the men who entered remained, and kept the 
barkeepers busy. The gamblers took heart of life, and 
soon the tables were filled, the click of chips and whir of 
the roulette-ball rising monotonously and imperiously 
above the hoarse rumble of men's voices and their oaths 
and heavy laughs. 

Few men knew Elam Harnish by any other name than 
Burning Daylight, the name which had been given him in 
the early days in the land because of his habit of routing 
his comrades out of their blankets with the complaint that 
daylight was burning. Of the pioneers in that far Arctic 
wilderness, where all men were pioneers, he was reckoned 
among the oldest. Men like Al Mayo and Jack McQues- 
tion antedated him; but they had entered the land by cross- 
ing the Rockies from the Hudson Bay country to the east. 
He, however, had been the pioneer over the Chilcoot and 
Chilcat passes. In the spring of 1883, twelve years before, 
a stripling of eighteen, he had crossed over the Chilcoot with 
five comrades. In the fall he had crossed back with one. 
Four had perished by mischance in the bleak, uncharted 
vastness. And for twelve years Elam Harnish had con- 
tinued to grope for gold among the shadows of the Circle. 

And no man had groped so obstinately nor so enduringly. 
He had grown up with the land. He knew no other land. 
Civilization was a dream of some previous life. Camps 
like Forty Mile and Circle City were to him metropolises. 
And not alone had he grown up with the land, for, raw as 
it was, he had helped to make it. He had made history 
and geography, and those that followed wrote of his tra- 
verses and charted the trails his feet had broken. 

Heroes are seldom given to hero-worship, but among 
those of that young land, young as he was, he was accounted 
an elder hero. In point of time he was before them. In 
point of deed he was beyond them. In point of endurance 



6 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

it was acknowledged that he could kill the hardiest of them. 
Furthermore, he was accounted a nervy man, a square man, 
and a white man. 

In all lands where life is a hazard lightly played with and 
lightly flung aside, men turn, almost automatically, to gam- 
bling for diversion and relaxation. In the Yukon men 
gambled their lives for gold, and those that won gold from 
the ground gambled for it with one another. Nor was Elam 
Harnish an exception. He was a man's man primarily, 
and the instinct in him to play the game of life was strong. 
Environment had determined what form that game should 
take. He was born on an Iowa farm, and his father had 
emigrated to eastern Oregon, in which mining country 
Elam's boyhood was lived. He had known nothing but 
hard knocks for big stakes. Pluck and endurance counted 
in the game, but the great god Chance dealt the cards. 
Honest work for sure but meagre returns did not count. A 
man played big. He risked everything for everything, and 
anything less than everything meant that he was a loser. 
So, for twelve Yukon years, Elam Harnish had been a loser. 
True, on Moosehide Creek the past summer he had taken 
out twenty thousand dollars, and what was left in the 
ground was twenty thousand more. But, as he himself 
proclaimed, that was no more than getting his ante back. 
He had ante'd his life for a dozen years, and forty thousand 
was a small pot for such a stake — the price of a drink and 
a dance at the Tivoli, of a winter's flutter at Circle City, 
and a grubstake for the year to come. 

The men of the Yukon reversed the old maxim till it 
read: hard come, easy go. At the end of the reel, Elam 
Harnish called the house up to drink again. Drinks were 
a dollar apiece, gold rated at sixteen dollars an ounce; there 
were thirty in the house that accepted his invitation, and 
between every dance the house was Elam's guest. This was 
his night, and nobody was to be allowed to pay for anything. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 7 

Not that Elam Harnish was a drinking man. Whiskey 
meant little to him. He was too vital and robust, too un- 
troubled in mind and body, to incline to the slavery of al- 
cohol. He spent months at a time on trail and river when 
he drank nothing stronger than coffee, while he had gone a 
year at a time without even coffee. But he was gregarious, 
and since the sole social expression of the Yukon was the 
saloon, he expressed himself that way. When he was a lad 
in the mining camps of the West, men had always done 
that. To him it was the proper way for a man to express 
himself socially. He knew no other way. 

He was a striking figure of a man, despite his garb being 
similar to that of all the men in the Tivoli. Soft-tanned 
moccasins of moose-hide, beaded in Indian designs, covered 
his feet. His trousers were ordinary overalls, his coat was 
made from a blanket. Long-gauntleted leather mittens, 
lined with wool, hung by his side. They were connected, 
in the Yukon fashion, by a leather thong passed around the 
neck and across the shoulders. On his head was a fur cap, 
the ear-flaps raised and the tying-cords dangling. His face, 
lean and slightly long, with the suggestion of hollows under 
the cheek-bones, seemed almost Indian. The burnt skin 
and keen dark eyes contributed to this effect, though the 
bronze of the skin and the eyes themselves were essentially 
those of a white man. He looked older than thirty, and 
yet, smooth-shaven and without wrinkles, he was almost 
boyish. This impression of age was based on no tangible 
evidence. It came from the abstracter facts of the man, 
from what he had endured and survived, which was far be- 
yond that of ordinary men. He had lived life naked and 
tensely, and something of all this smouldered in his eyes, vi- 
brated in his voice, and seemed forever a-whisper on his lips. 

The lips themselves were thin, and prone to close tightly 
over the even, white teeth. But their harshness was re- 
trieved by the upward curl at the corners of his mouth. 



8 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

This curl gave to him sweetness, as the minute puckers at 
the corners of the eyes gave him laughter. These necessary 
graces saved him from a nature that was essentially savage 
and that otherwise would have been cruel and bitter. The 
nose was lean, full-nostrilled, and delicate, and of a size to 
fit the face; while the high forehead, as if to atone for its 
narrowness, was splendidly domed and symmetrical. In 
line with the Indian effect was his hair, very straight and 
very black, with a gloss to it that only health could give. 

"Burning Daylight's burning candlelight," laughed Dan 
MacDonald, as an outburst of exclamations and merriment 
came from the dancers. 

"An' he iss der boy to do it, eh, Louis?" said Olaf 
Henderson. 

"Yes, by Gar! you bet on dat," said French Louis. 
"Dat boy is all gold — " 

"And when God Almighty washes Daylight's soul out on 
the last big slucin' day," MacDonald interrupted, "why, 
God Almighty '11 have to shovel gravel along with him into 
the sluice-boxes." 

"Dot iss goot," Olaf Henderson muttered, regarding the 
gambler with profound admiration. 

"Ver' good," affirmed French Louis. "I t'ink we take 
a drink on dat one time, eh?" 



CHAPTER II 

It was two in the morning when the dancers, bent on 
getting something to eat, adjourned the dancing for half 
an hour. And it was at this moment that Jack Kearns 
suggested poker. Jack Kearns was a big, bluff-featured 
man, who, along with Bettles, had made the disastrous at- 
tempt to found a post on the head-reaches of the Koyokuk, 
far inside the Arctic Circle. After that, Kearns had fallen 
back on his posts at Forty Mile and Sixty Mile and changed 
the direction of his ventures by sending out to the States 
for a small sawmill and a river steamer. The former was 
even then being sledded across Chilcoot Pass by Indians 
and dogs, and would come down the Yukon in the early 
summer after the ice-run. Later in the summer, when 
Bering Sea and the mouth of the Yukon cleared of ice, the 
steamer, put together at St. Michaels, was to be expected 
up the river loaded to the guards with supplies. 

Jack Kearns suggested poker. French Louis, Dan Mac- 
Donald, and Hal Campbell (who had make a strike on 
Moosehide), all three of whom were not dancing because 
there were not girls enough to go around, inclined to the 
suggestion. They were looking for a fifth man when Burn- 
ing Daylight emerged from the rear room, the Virgin on 
his arm, the train of dancers in his wake. In response to 
the hail of the poker-players, he came over to their table 
in the corner. 

"Want you to sit in," said Campbell. "How's your 
luck?" 

"I sure got it to-night," Burning Daylight answered with 
enthusiasm, and at the same time felt the Virgin press his 

9 



XO BURNING DAYLIGHT 

arm warningly. She wanted him for the dancing. "I sure 
got my luck with me, but I'd sooner dance. I ain't hank- 
erin' to take the money away from you-all." 

Nobody urged. They took his refusal as final, and the 
Virgin was pressing his arm to turn him away in pursuit 
of the supper-seekers, when he experienced a change of 
heart. It was not that he did not want to dance, nor that he 
wanted to hurt her; but that insistent pressure on his arm 
put his free man-nature in revolt. The thought in his mind 
was that he did not want any woman running him. Himself 
a favorite with women, nevertheless they did not bulk big 
with him. They were toys, playthings, part of the relaxa- 
tion from the bigger game of life. He met women along 
with the whiskey and gambling, and from observation he 
had found that it was far easier to break away from the 
drink and the cards than from a woman once the man was 
properly entangled. 

He was a slave to himself, which was natural in one with 
a healthy ego, but he rebelled in ways either murderous or 
panicky at being a slave to anybody else. Love's sweet 
servitude was a thing of which he had no comprehension. 
Men he had seen in love impressed him as lunatics, and 
lunacy was a thing he had never considered worth analyz- 
ing. But comradeship with men was different from love 
with women. There was no servitude in comradeship. It 
was a business proposition, a square deal between men who 
did not pursue each other, but who shared the risks of trail 
and river and mountain in the pursuit of life and treasure. 
Men and women pursued each other, and one must needs 
bend the other to his will or hers. Comradeship was dif- 
ferent. There was no slavery about it; and though he, a 
strong man beyond strength's seeming, gave far more than 
he received, he gave not something due but in royal largess, 
his gifts of toil or heroic effort falling generously from his 
hands. To pack for days over the gale-swept passes or 



BURNING DAYLIGHT II 

across the mosquito-ridden marshes, and to pack double 
the weight his comrade packed, did not involve unfairness 
or compulsion. Each did his best. That was the business 
essence of it. Some men were stronger than others — true; 
but so long as each man did his best it was fair exchange, 
the business spirit was observed, and the square deal ob- 
tained. 

But with women — no. Women gave little and wanted 
all. Women had apron-strings and were prone to tie them 
about any man who looked twice in their direction. There 
was the Virgin, yawning her head off when he came in and 
mightily pleased that he asked her to dance. One dance 
was all very well, but because he danced twice and thrice 
with her and several times more, she squeezed his arm when 
they asked him to sit in at poker. It was the obnoxious 
apron-string, the first of the many compulsions she would 
exert upon him if he gave in. Not that she was not a nice bit 
of a woman, healthy and strapping and good to look upon, 
also a very excellent dancer, but that she was a woman 
with all a woman's desire to rope him with her apron-strings 
and tie him hand and foot for the branding. Better poker. 
Besides, he liked poker as well as he did dancing. 

He resisted the pull on his arm by the mere negative mass 
of him, and said: — 

"I sort of feel a hankering to give you-all a flutter." 

Again came the pull on his arm. She was trying to pass 
the apron-string around him. For the fraction of an in- 
stant he was a savage, dominated by the wave of fear and 
murder that rose up in him. For that infinitesimal space 
of time he was to all purposes a frightened tiger filled with 
rage and terror at the apprehension of the trap. Had he 
been no more than a savage, he would have leapt wildly 
from the place or else sprung upon her and destroyed her. 
But in that same instant there stirred in him the genera- 
tions of discipline by which man had become an inadequate 



12 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

social animal. Tact and sympathy strove with him, and 
he smiled with his eyes into the Virgin's eyes as he 
said: — 

"You-all go and get some grub. I ain't hungry. And 
we'll dance some more by and by. The night's young yet. 
Go to it, old girl." 

He released his arm and thrust her playfully on the 
shoulder, at the same time turning to the poker-players. 

"Take off the limit and I'll go you-all." 

"Limit's the roof," said Jack Kearns. 

"Take off the roof." 

The players glanced at one another, and Kearns an- 
nounced, "The roof's off." 

Elam Harnish dropped into the waiting chair, started to 
pull out his gold-sack, and changed his mind. The Virgin 
pouted a moment, then followed in the wake of the other 
dancers. 

"I'll bring you a sandwich. Daylight," she called back 
over her shoulder. 

He nodded. She was smiling her forgiveness. He had 
escaped the apron-string, and without hurting her feelings 
too severely. 

"Let's play markers," he suggested. "Chips do ever- 
lastingly clutter up the table. ... If it's agreeable to 
you-all?" 

"I'm wiUing," answered Hal Campbell. "Let mine run 
at five hundred." 

"Mine, too," answered Harnish, while the others stated 
the values they put on their own markers, French Louis, 
the most modest, issuing his at a hundred dollars each. 

In Alaska, at that time, there were no rascals and no 
tin-horn gamblers. Games were conducted honestly, and 
men trusted one another. A man's word was as good as his 
gold in the blower. A marker was a flat, oblong composi- 
tion chip worth, perhaps, a cent. But when a man betted a 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 13 

marker in a game and said it was worth five hundred dol- 
lars, it was accepted as worth five hundred dollars. Who- 
ever won it knew that the man who issued it would redeem it 
with five hundred dollars' worth of dust weighed out on the 
scales. The markers being of different colors, there was no 
difficulty in identifying the owners. Also, in that early 
Yukon day, no one dreamed of playing table-stakes. A 
man was good in a game for all that he possessed, no mat- 
ter where his possessions were or what was their nature. 

Harnish cut and got the deal. At this good augury, and 
while shuffling the deck, he called to the barkeepers to set 
up the drinks for the house. As he dealt the first card to 
Dan MacDonald, on his left, he called out: — 

"Get down to the ground, you-all, Malemutes, huskies, 
and Siwash purps ! Get down and dig in ! Tighten up them 
traces 1 Put your weight into the harness and bust the 
breast-bands! Whoop-la! Yow! We're off and bound 
for Helen Breakfast! And I tell you-all clear and plain 
there's goin' to be stiff grades and fast goin' to-night before 
we win to that same lady. And somebody's goin' to 
bump . . . hard." 

Once started, it was a quiet game, with little or no con- 
versation, though all about the players the place was a-roar. 
Elam Harnish had ignited the spark. More and more min- 
ers dropped in to the Tivoli and remained. When Burning 
Dayhght went on the tear, no man cared to miss it. The 
dancing-fi jr was full. Owing to the shortage of women, 
many of the men tied bandanna handkerchiefs around their 
arms in token of femininity and danced with other men. 
All the games were crowded, and the voices of the men talk- 
ing at the long bar and grouped about the stove were 
accompanied by the steady click of chips and the sharp 
whir, rising and falling, of the roulette-ball. All the 
materials of a proper Yukon night were at hand and mixing. 

The luck at the table varied monotonously, no big hands 



14 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

being out. As a result, high play went on with small hands, 
though no play lasted long. A filled straight belonging to 
French Louis gave him a pot of five thousand against two 
sets of threes held by Campbell and Kearns. One pot of 
eight hundred dollars was won by a pair of trays on a show- 
down. And once Harnish called Kearns for two thousand 
dollars on a cold steal. When Kearns laid down his hand 
it showed a bobtail flush, while Harnish's hand proved that 
he had had the nerve to call on a pair of tens. 

But at three in the morning the big combination of hands 
arrived. It was the moment of moments that men wait 
weeks for in a poker game. The news of it tingled over the 
TivoU. The onlookers became quiet. The men farther 
away ceased talking and moved over to the table. The 
players deserted the other games, and the dancing-floor was 
forsaken, so that all stood at last, fivescore and more, in 
a compact and silent group, around the poker-table. The 
high betting had begun before the draw, and still the high 
betting went on, with the draw not in sight. Kearns had 
dealt, and French Louis had opened the pot with one 
marker — in his case one hundred dollars. Campbell had 
merely "seen" it, but Elam Harnish, coming next, had 
tossed in five hundred dollars, with the remark to Mac- 
Donald that he was letting him in easy. 

MacDonald, glancing again at his hand, put in a thou- 
sand in markers. Kearns, debating a long time over his 
hand, finally "saw." It then cost French Loui^ nine hun- 
dred to remain in the game, which he contributed after a 
similar debate. It cost Campbell likewise nine hundred to 
remain and draw cards, but to the surprise of all he saw the 
nine hundred and raised another thousand. 

"You-all are on the grade at last," Harnish remarked, as 
he saw the fifteen hundred and raised a thousand in turn. 
"Helen Breakfast's sure on top this divide, and you-all had 
best look out for bustin' harness." 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 5 

"Me for that same lady," accompanied MacDonald's 
markers for two thousand and for an additional thousand- 
dollar raise. 

It was at this stage that the players sat up and knew 
beyond peradventure that big hands were out. Though 
their features showed nothing, each man was beginning 
unconsciously to tense. Each man strove to appear his 
natural self, and each natural self was different. Hal 
Campbell affected his customary cautiousness. French 
Louis betrayed interest. MacDonald retained his whole- 
souled benevolence, though it seemed to take on a slightly 
exaggerated tone. Kearns was coolly dispassionate and 
noncommittal, while Elam Harnish appeared as quizzical 
and jocular as ever. Eleven thousand dollars were already 
in the pot, and the markers were heaped in a confused pile 
in the centre of the table. 

"I ain't go no more markers," Kearns remarked plain- 
tively. "We'd best begin I.O.U.'s." 

"Glad you're going to stay," was MacDonald's cordial 
response. 

"I ain't stayed yet. IVe got a thousand in already. 
How's it stand now?" 

"It'll cost you three thousand for a look in, but nobody 
will stop you from raising." 

"Raise — hell. You must think I got a pat like yourself." 
Kearns looked at his hand. "But I'll tell you what I'll do, 
Mac. I've got a hunch, and I'll just see that three thousand." 

He wrote the sum on a slip of paper, signed his name, 
and consigned it to the centre of the table. 

French Louis became the focus of all eyes. He fingered 
his cards nervously for a space. Then, with a "By Gar! 
Ah got not one leetle beet hunch," he regretfully tossed his 
hand into the discards. 

The next moment the hundred and odd pairs of eyes 
shifted to Campbell. 



I6 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"I won't hump you, Jack," he said, contenting himself 
with calling the requisite two thousand. 

The eyes shifted to Harnish, who scribbed on a piece of 
paper and shoved it forward. 

''I'll just let you-all know this ain't no Sunday-school 
society of philanthropy," he said. "I see you, Jack, and 
I raise you a thousand. Here's where you-all get action 
on your pat, Mac." 

"Action's what I fatten on, and I Uft another thousand," 
was MacDonald's rejoinder. "Still got that hunch, Jack?" 

"I still got the hunch." Kearns fingered his cards a 
long time. "And I'll play it, but you've got to know how I 
stand. There's my steamer, the Bella — worth twenty 
thousand if she's worth an ounce. There's Sixty Mile with 
five thousand in stock on the shelves. And you know I got 
a sawmill coming in. It's at Linderman now, and the scow 
is building. Am I good?" 

"Dig in; you're sure good," was Daylight's answer. 
"And while we're about it, I may mention casual that I got 
twenty thousand in Mac's safe, there, and there's twenty 
thousand more in the ground on Moosehide. You know the 
ground, Campbell. Is they that-all in the dirt?" 

"There sure is. Daylight." 

"How much does it cost now?" Kearns asked. 

"Two thousand to see." 

"We'll sure hump you if you-all come in," Daylight 
warned him. 

"It's an almighty good hunch," Kearns said, adding his 
slip for two thousand to the growing heap. "I can feel 
her crawlin' up and dowTi my back." 

"I ain't got a hunch, but I got a tolerable likeable hand," 
Campbell announced, as he slid in his slip; "but it's not a 
raising hand." 

"Mine is," Daylight paused and wrote. "I see that 
thousand and raise her the same old thousand." 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 7 

The Virgin, standing behind him, then did what a man's 
best friend was not privileged to do. Reaching over Day- 
Hght's shoulder, she picked up his hand and read it, at the 
same time shielding the faces of the five cards close to his 
chest. What she saw were three queens and a pair of 
eights, but nobody guessed what she saw. Every player's 
eyes were on her face as she scanned the cards, but no sign 
did she give. Her features might have been carved from 
ice, for her expression was precisely the same before, during, 
and after. Not a muscle quivered; nor was there the 
slightest dilation of a nostril, nor the slightest increase of 
light in the eyes. She laid the hand face down again on 
the table, and slowly the lingering eyes withdrew from her, 
having learned nothing. 

MacDonald smiled benevolently. "I see you, Daylight, 
and I hump this time for two thousand. How's that hunch, 
Jack?" 

"Still a-crawling, Mac. You got me now, but that 
hunch is a rip-snorter persuadin' sort of a critter, and it's 
my plain duty to ride it. I call for three thousand. And 
I got another hunch: Daylight's going to call, too." 

"He sure is," Daylight agreed, after Campbell had 
thrown up his hand. "He knows when he's up against it, 
and he plays accordin'. I see that two thousand, and then 
I'll see the draw." 

In a dead silence, save for the low voices of the three 
players, the draw was made. Thirty-four thousand dollars 
were already in the pot, and the play possibly not half over. 
To the Virgin's amazement. Daylight held up his three 
queens, discarding his eights and calling for two cards. 
And this time not even she dared look at what he had 
drawn. She knew her limit of control. Nor did he look. 
The two new cards lay face down on the table where they 
had been dealt to him. 

"Cards?" Kearns asked of MacDonald. 



l8 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"Got enough/' was the reply. 

"You can draw if you want to, you know," Kearns 
warned him. 

"Nope; this'll do me." 

Kearns himself drew two cards, but did not look at them. 

Still Harnish let his cards lie. 

"I never bet in the teeth of a pat hand," he said slowly, 
looking at the saloon-keeper. "You-all start her rolling, 
Mac." 

MacDonald counted his cards carefully, to make doubly 
sure it was not a foul hand, wrote a sum on a paper slip, 
and slid it into the pot, with the simple utterance: — 

"Five thousand." 

Kearns, with every eye upon him, looked at his two-card 
draw, counted the other three to dispel any doubt of hold- 
ing more than five cards, and wrote on a betting slip. 

"I see you, Mac," he said, "and I raise her a Httle thou- 
sand just so as not to keep Dayhght out." 

The concentrated gaze shifted to Daylight. He like- 
wise examined his draw and counted his five cards. 

"I see that six thousand, and I raise her five thousand 
. . . just to try and keep you out, Jack." 

"And I raise you five thousand just to lend a hand at 
keeping Jack out," MacDonald said, in turn. 

His voice was slightly husky and strained, and a nervous 
twitch in the corner of his mouth followed speech. 

Kearns was pale, and those who looked on noted that 
his hand trembled as he wrote his shp. But his voice was 
unchanged. 

"I lift her along for five thousand," he said. 

Daylight was now the centre. The kerosene lamps above 
flung high lights from the rash of sweat on his forehead. 
The bronze of his cheeks was darkened by the accession 
of blood. His black eyes glittered, and his nostrils were 
distended and eager. They were large nostrils, tokening 



BURNING DAYLIGHT ZQ 

his descent from savage ancestors who had survived by 
virtue of deep lungs and generous air-passages. 

Yet, unlike MacDonald, his voice was firm and custom- 
ary, and, unlike Kearns, his hand rVxd not tremble when he 
wrote. 

"I call, for ten thousand," he sa'd. "Not that I'm afraid 
of you-all, Mac. It's that hunch of Jack's." 

"I hump his hunch for five thousand just the same," 
said MacDonald. "I had the best hand before the draw, 
and I still guess I got it." 

"Mebbe this is a case where a hunch after the draw is 
better'n the hunch before," Kearns remarked; "where- 
fore duty says, Xift her, Jack, lift her,' and so I lift her 
another five thousand." 

Daylight leaned back in his chair and gazed up at the 
kerosene lamps while he computed aloud. 

"I was in nine thousand before the draw, and I saw and 
raised eleven thousand — that makes thirty. I'm only 
good for ten more." He leaned forward and looked at 
Kearns. "So I call that ten thousand." 

"You can raise if you want," Kearns answered. "Your 
dogs are good for five thousand in this game." 

"Nary dawg. You-all can win my dust and dirt, but 
nary one of my dawgs. I just call." 

MacDonald considered for a long time. No one moved 
or whispered. Not a muscle was relaxed on the part of 
the onlookers. Not the weight of a body shifted from one 
leg to the other. It was a sacred silence. Only could be 
heard the roaring draft of the huge stove, and from without, 
muffled by the log- walls, the howling of dogs. It was not 
every night that high stakes were played on the Yukon, 
and for that matter, this was the highest in the history of 
the country. The saloon-keeper finally spoke. 

"If anybody else wins, they'll have to take a mortgage 
on the Tivoli." 



20 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

The two other players nodded. 

"So I call, too." 

MacDonald added his slip for five thousand. 

Not one of them claimed the pot, and not one of them 
called the size of his hand. Simultaneously and in silence 
they faced their cards on the table, while a general tiptoe- 
ing and craning of necks took place among the onlookers. 
DayHght showed four queens and an ace; MacDonald 
four jacks and an ace; and Kearns four kings and a trey. 
Kearns reached forward with an encircling movement of 
his arm and drew the pot in to him, his arm shaking as he 
did so. 

Daylight picked the ace from his hand and tossed it over 
alongside MacDonald's ace, saying: — 

"That's what cheered me along, Mac. I knowed it was 
only kings that could beat me, and he had them. 

"What did you-all have?" he asked, all interest, turning 
to Campbell. 

"Straight flush of four, open at both ends — a good 
drawing hand." 

"You bet! You could a' made a straight, a straight 
flush, or a flush out of it." 

"That's what I thought," Campbell said sadly. "It 
cost me six thousand before I quit." 

"I wisht you-all'd drawn," Daylight laughed. "Then 
I wouldn't a' caught that fourth queen. Now I've got to 
take Billy Rawlins' mail contract and mush for Dyea. 
— What's the size of the killing, Jack?" 

Kearns attempted to count the pot, but was too excited. 
Daylight drew it across to him, with firm fingers separating 
and stacking the markers and I.O.U.'s and with clear brain 
adding the sum. 

"One hundred and twenty-seven thousand," he an- 
nounced. "You-all can sell out now. Jack, and head for 
home." 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 21 

The winner smiled and nodded, but seemed incapable of 
speech. 

"I'd shout the drinks," MacDonald said, "only the house 
don't belong to me any more," 

"Yes, it does," Kearns replied, first wetting his lips with 
his tongue. "Your note's good for any length of time. 
But the drinks are on me." 

"Name your snake-juice, you-all — the winner pays I" 
Daylight called out loudly to all about him, at the same 
time rising from his chair and catching the Virgin by the 
arm. "Come on for a reel, you-all dancers. The night's 
young yet, and it's Helen Breakfast and the mail contract 
for me in the morning. Here, you-all Rawlins, you — I 
hereby do take over that same contract, and I start for salt 
water at nine A.M. — savvee? Come on, you-all ! Where's 
that fiddler?" 



CHAPTER III 

It was Daylight's night. He was the centre and the 
head of the revel, unquenchably joyous, a contagion of fun. 
He multiplied himself, and in so doing multiplied the ex- 
citement. No prank he suggested was too wild for his 
followers, and all followed save those that developed into 
singing imbeciles and fell warbling by the wayside. Yet 
never did trouble intrude. It was known on the Yukon 
that when Burning Daylight made a night of it, wrath 
and evil were forbidden. On his nights men dared not 
quarrel. In the younger days such things had happened, 
and then men had known what real wrath was, and been 
man-handled as only Burning Daylight could man-handle. 
On his nights men must laugh and be happy or go home. 

Daylight was inexhaustible. In between dances he paid 
over to Kearns the twenty thousand in dust and trans- 
ferred to him his Moosehide claim. Likewise he arranged 
the taking over of Billy Rawhns' mail contract, and made 
his preparations for the start. He despatched a mes- 
senger to rout out Kama, his dog-driver — a Tananaw 
Indian, far-wandered from his tribal home in the service 
of the invading whites. Kama entered the Tivoli, tall, 
lean, muscular, and fur-clad, the pick of his barbaric race 
and barbaric still, unshaken and unabashed by the revellers 
that rioted about him while Daylight gave his orders. 

"Um," said Kama, tabling his instructions on his fingers. 
"Get um letters from Rawlins. Load um on sled. Grub 
for Selkirk — you think um plenty dog-grub stop Selkirk?" 

"Plenty dog-grub, Kama." 

"Um. Bring sled this place nine um clock. Bring um 

22 



aud rr^tuia me 1 j 

GERoFIMAN 

snowshoes. No bring um tent. Mebbe bring um fly? um 
little fly?" 

"No fly," Daylight answered decisively. 

"Um much cold." 

"We travel light — savvee? We carry plenty letters 
out, plenty letters back. You are strong man. Plenty 
cold, plenty travel, all right." 

"Sure all right," Kama muttered, with resignation. 
"Much cold, no care a damn. Um ready nine um clock." 

He turned on his moccasined heel and walked out, im- 
p>erturbable, sphinx-like, neither giving nor receiving greet- 
ings nor looking to right or left. The Virgin led Daylight 
away into a corner. 

"Look here, Daylight," she said, in a low voice, "you're 
busted." 

"Higher'n a kite." 

"I've eight thousand in Mac's safe — " she began. 

But Daylight interrupted. The apron-string loomed 
near and he shied like an unbroken colt. 

"It don't matter," he said. "Busted I came into the 
world, busted I go out, and I've been busted most of the 
time since I arrived. Come on; let's waltz," 

"But listen," she urged. "My money's doing nothing. 
I could lend it to you — a grub-stake," she added hurriedly, 
at sight of the alarm in his face. 

"Nobody grub-stakes me," was the answer. "I stake 
myself, and when I make a killing it's sure all mine. No 
thank you, old girl. Much obliged. I'll get my stake by 
running the mail out and in." 

"Daylight," she murmured, in tender protest. 

But with a sudden well-assumed ebullition of spirits he 
drew her toward the dancing-floor, and as they swung 
around and around in a waltz she pondered on the iron 
heart of the man who held her in his arms and resisted all 
her wiles. 



24 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

At six the next morning, scorching with whiskey, yet ever 
himself, he stood at the bar putting every man's hand down. 
The way of it was that two men faced each other across a 
corner, their right elbows resting on the bar, their right 
hands gripped together, while each strove to press the 
other's hand down. Man after man came against him, 
but no man put his hand down, even Olaf Henderson and 
French Louis failing despite their hugeness. When they 
contended it was a trick, a trained muscular knack, he 
challenged them to another test. 

"Look here, you-all!" he cried. "I'm going to do two 
things: first, weigh my sack; and second, bet it that after 
you-all have lifted clean from the floor all the sacks of flour 
you-all are able, I'll put on two more sacks and lift the 
whole caboodle clean." 

"By Gar! Ah take dat!" French Louis rumbled above 
the cheers. 

"Hold onl" Olaf Henderson cried. "I ban yust as 
good as you, Louis. I yump half that bet." 

Put on the scales. Daylight's sack was found to balance 
an even four hundred dollars, and Louis and Olaf divided 
the bet between them. Fifty-pound sacks of flour were 
brought in from MacDonald's cache. Other men tested 
their strength first. They straddled on two chairs, the 
flour sacks beneath them on the floor and held together by 
rope-lashings. Many of the men were able, in this manner, 
to lift four or five hundred pounds, while some succeeded 
with as high as six hundred. Then the two giants took 
a hand, tying at seven hundred. French Louis then added 
another sack, and swung seven hundred and fifty clear. 
Olaf duplicated the performance, whereupon both failed to 
clear eight hundred. Again and again they strove, their 
foreheads beaded with sweat, their frames crackling with 
the effort. Both were able to shift the weight and to 
bump it, but clear the floor with it they could not. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 2$ 

"By Gar! Daylight, dis tam you mek one beeg mees- 
take," French Louis said, straightening up and stepping 
down from the chairs. *'Only one damn iron man can do 
dat. One hundred poun' more — my frien', not ten poun' 
more." 

The sacks were unlashed, but when two sacks were added, 
Kearns interfered. 

"Only one sack more." 

"Two!" some one cried. "Two was the bet." 

"They didn't lift that last sack," Kearns protested. 

"They only lifted seven hundred and fifty." 

But Daylight grandly brushed aside the confusion. 

"What's the good of you-all botherin' around that way? 
What's one more sack? If I can't lift three more, I sure 
can't lift two. Put 'em in." 

He stood upon the chairs, squatted, and bent his shoul- 
ders down till his hands closed on the rope. He shifted 
his feet slightly, tautened his muscles with a tentative pull, 
then relaxed again, questing for a perfect adjustment of all 
the levers of his body. 

French Louis, looking on sceptically, cried out: — 

"Pool lak hell. Daylight! Pool lak hell!" 

Daylight's muscles tautened a second time, and this time 
in earnest, until steadily all the energy of his splendid body 
was applied, and quite imperceptibly, without jerk or strain, 
the bulky nine hundred pounds rose from the floor and 
swung back and forth, pendulum like, between his legs. 

Olaf Henderson sighed a vast audible sigh. The Virgin, 
who had tensed unconsciously till her muscles hurt her, 
relaxed. While French Louis murmured reverently: — 

"M'sieu Daylight, salutf Ay am one beeg baby. You 
are one beeg man." 

Daylight dropped his burden, leaped to the floor, and 
headed for the bar. 

"Weigh in!" he cried, tossing his sack to the weigher, 



20 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

who transferred to it four hundred dollars from the sacks of 
the two losers. 

"Surge up, everybody!" DayHght went on. "Name 
your snake-juice ! The winner pays ! " 

"This is my night!" he was shouting, ten minutes later. 
"I'm the lone he-wolf, and I've seen thirty winters. This 
is my birthday, my one day in the year, and I can put any 
man on his back. Come on, you-all! I'm going to put 
you-all in the snow. Come on, you chechaquos ^ and sour- 
doughs,^ and get your baptism!" 

The rout streamed out of doors, all save the barkeepers 
and the singing Bacchuses. Some fleeting thought of 
saving his own dignity entered MacDonald's head, for he 
approached Daylight with outstretched hand. 

"What? You first?" Daylight laughed, clasping the 
other's hand as if in greeting. 

"No, no," the other hurriedly disclaimed. "Just con- 
gratulations on your birthday. Of course you can put me 
in the snow. What chance have I against a man that lifts 
nine hundred pounds?" 

MacDonald weighed one hundred and eighty pounds, 
and Daylight had him gripped solely by his hand; yet, by 
a sheer abrupt jerk, he took the saloon-keeper off his feet 
and flung him face downward in the snow. In quick suc- 
cession, seizing the men nearest him, he threw half a dozen 
more. Resistance was useless. They flew helter-skelter 
out of his grips, landing in all manner of attitudes, gro- 
tesquely and harmlessly, in the soft snow. It soon became 
difficult, in the dim starlight, to distinguish between those 
thrown and those waiting their turn, and he began feehng 
their backs and shoulders, determining their status by 
whether or not he found them powdered with snow. 

"Baptized yet?" became his stereotyped question, as he 
reached out his terrible hands. 

1 Tenderfeet. 2 Old-timers. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 27 

Several score lay down in the snow in a long row, while 
many others knelt in mock humility, scooping snow upon 
their heads and claiming the rite accomplished. But a 
group of five stood upright — backwoodsmen and fron- 
tiersmen, they, eager to contest any man's birthday. 

Graduates of the hardest of man-handling schools, veter- 
ans of multitudes of rough-and-tumble battles, men of 
blood and sweat and endurance, they nevertheless lacked 
one thing that Daylight possessed in high degree — namely, 
an almost perfect brain and muscular coordination. It 
was simple, in its way, and no virtue of his. He had been 
born with this endowment. His nerves carried messages 
more quickly than theirs; his mental processes, culminating 
in acts of will, were quicker than theirs; his muscles them- 
selves, by some immediacy of chemistry, obeyed the mes- 
sages of his will quicker than theirs. He was so made. 
His muscles were high-power explosives. The levers of his 
body snapped into play like the jaws of steel traps. And 
in addition to all this, his was that super-strength that is 
the dower of but one human in millions — a strength de- 
pending not on size but on degree, a supreme organic excel- 
lence residing in the stuff of the muscles themselves. Thus, 
so swiftly could he apply a stress, that, before an opponent 
could become aware and resist, the aim of the stress had 
been accomplished. In turn, so swiftly did he become 
aware of a stress applied to him, that he saved himself by 
resistance or by delivering a lightning counter-stress. 

"It ain't no use you-all standing there," Daylight ad- 
dressed the waiting group. "You-all might as well get 
right down and take your baptizing. You-all might down 
me any other day in the year, but on my birthday I want 
you-all to know I'm the best man. Is that Pat Hanra- 
han's mug looking hungry and willing? Come on, Pat." 

Pat Hanrahan, ex-bare-knuckle-prizefighter and rough- 
house-expert, stepped forth. The two men came against 



28 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

each other in grips, and almost before he had exerted him- 
self the Irishman found himself in the merciless vise of a 
half-Nelson that buried him head and shoulders in the 
snow. Joe Hines, ex-lumber-jack, came down with an 
impact equal to a fall from a two-story building — his 
overthrow accomplished by a cross-buttock, delivered, he 
claimed, before he was ready. 

There was nothing exhausting in all this to Daylight. 
He did not heave and strain through long minutes. No 
time, practically, was occupied. His body exploded 
abruptly and terrifically in one instant, and on the next 
instant was relaxed. Thus, Doc Watson, the gray-bearded, 
iron bodied man without a past, a fighting terror himself, 
was overthrown in the fraction of a second preceding his 
own onslaught. As he was in the act of gathering himself 
for a spring, Daylight was upon him, and with such fearful 
suddenness as to crush him backward and down. Olaf 
Henderson, receiving his cue from this, attempted to take 
Daylight unaware, rushing upon him from one side as 
he stooped with extended hand to help Doc Watson up. 
Daylight dropped on his hands and knees, receiving in his 
side Olaf's knees. Olaf 's momentum carried him clear over 
the obstruction in a long, flying fall. Before he could rise, 
Daylight had whirled him over on his back and was rubbing 
his face and ears with snow and shoving handfuls down 
his neck. 

"Ay ban yust as good a man as you ban. Daylight," 
Olaf spluttered, as he pulled himself to his feet; "but by 
Yupiter, I ban nawer see a grip Hke that." 

French Louis was the last of the five, and he had seen 
enough to make him cautious. He circled and baffled for 
a full minute before coming to grips; and for another full 
minute they strained and reeled without either winning 
the advantage. And then, just as the contest was becom- 
ing interesting, Daylight effected one of his lightning shifts, 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 29 

changing all stresses and leverages and at the same time 
delivering one of his muscular explosions. French Louis 
resisted till his huge frame crackled, and then, slowly, was 
forced over and under and downward. 

"The winner pays!" Daylight cried, as he sprang to his 
feet and led the way back into the Tivoli. "Surge along, 
you-all! This way to the snake-room!" 

They lined up against the long bar, in places two or three 
deep, stamping the frost from their moccasined feet, for 
outside the temperature was sixty below. Bettles, himself 
one of the gamest of the old-timers in deeds and daring, 
ceased from his drunken lay of the "Sassafras Root," and 
titubated over to congratulate Daylight. But in the midst 
of it he felt impelled to make a speech, and raised his voice 
oratorically. 

"I tell you fellers I'm plum proud to call Daylight my 
friend. We've hit the trail together afore now, and he^s 
eighteen carat from his moccasins up, damn his mangy old 
hide, anyway. He was a shaver when he first hit this 
country. When you fellers was his age, you wa'n't dry 
behind the ears yet. He never was no kid. He was born 
a full-grown man. An' I tell you a man had to be a man in 
them days. This wa'n't no effete civilization like it's come 
to be now." Bettles paused long enough to put his arm in 
a proper bear-hug around Daylight's neck. "When you an* 
me mushed ^ into the Yukon in the good ole days, it didn't 
rain soup and they wa'n't no free-lunch joints. Our camp- 
fires was lit where we killed our game, and most of the 
time we lived on salmon-tracks and rabbit-bellies — ain't 
I right?" 

But at the roar of laughter that greeted his inversion, 
Bettles released the bear-hug and turned fiercely on the 
crowd. 

"Laugh, you mangy short-horns, laugh! But I tell you 

^ Drove dogs; travelled. 



3© BURNING DAYLIGHT 

plain and simple, the best of you ain't knee-high fit to 
tie Daylight's moccasin strings. Ain't I right, Campbell? 
Ain't I right, Mac? Dayhght's one of the old guard, one of 
the real sour-doughs. And in them days they wa'n't ary a 
steamboat or ary a trading-post, and we cusses had to live 
offen salmon-bellies and rabbit-tracks." 

He gazed triumphantly around, and in the applause that 
followed arose cries for a speech from Dayhght. He sig- 
nified his consent. A chair was brought, and he was helped 
to stand upon it. He was no more sober than the crowd 
above which he now towered — a wild crowd, uncouthly 
garmented, every foot moccasined or muc-lucked,^ with 
mittens dangling from necks and with furry ear-flaps raised 
so that they took on the seeming of the winged helmets of 
the Norsemen. Daylight's black eyes were flashing, and 
the flush of strong drink flooded darkly under the bronze 
of his cheeks. He was greeted with round on round of 
affectionate cheers, which brought a suspicious moisture to 
his eyes, albeit many of the voices were inarticulate and 
inebriate. And yet, men have so behaved since the world 
began, feasting, fighting, and carousing, whether in the dark 
cave-mouth or by the fire of the squatting-place, in the 
palaces of imperial Rome and the rock strongholds of robber 
barons, or in the sky-aspiring hotels of modern times and in 
the boozing-kens of sailor-town. Just so were these men, 
empire-builders in the Arctic night, boastful and drunken 
and clamorous, winning surcease for a few wild moments 
from the grim reality of their heroic toil. Modern heroes 
they, and in nowise different from the heroes of old time. 

"Well, fellows, I don't know what to say to you-all," 
Daylight began lamely, striving still to control his whirl- 
ing brain. "I think I'll tell you-all a story. I had a pard- 
ner wunst, down in Juneau. He come from North Caro- 

1 Muc-luc : a water-tight, Eskimo boot, made from walrus-hide and 
trimmed with fur. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 3 1 

liney, and he used to tell this same story to me. It was 
down in the mountains in his country, and it was a wed- 
ding. There they was, the family and all the friends. The 
parson was just puttin' on the last touches, and he says, 
'They as the Lord have jined let no man put asunder.' 

" 'Parson,' says the bridegroom, 'I rises to question your 
grammar in that there sentence. I want this weddin' done 
right.' 

"When the smoke clears away, the bride she looks around 
and sees a dead parson, a dead bridegroom, a dead brother, 
two dead uncles, and five dead wedding-guests. 

"So she heaves a mighty strong sigh and says, 'Them 
new-fangled, self-cocking revolvers sure has played hell with 
my prospects.' 

"And so I say to you-all," Daylight added, as the roar of 
laughter died down, "that them four kings of Jack Kearns 
sure has played hell with my prospects. I'm busted higliei 'n 
a kite, and I'm hittin' the trail for Dyea — " 

"Goin' out?" some one called. 

A spasm of anger wrought on his face for a flashing in- 
stant, but in the next his good-humor was back again. 

"I know you-all are only pokin' fun asking such a ques- 
tion," he said, with a smile. "Of course I ain't going out." 

"Take the oath again. Daylight," the same voice cried. 

"I sure will. I first come over Chilcoot in '83. I went 
out over the Pass in a fall blizzard, with a rag of a shirt and 
a cup of raw flour. I got my grub-stake in Juneau that 
winter, and in the spring I went over the Pass once more. 
And once more the famine drew me out. Next spring I went 
in again, and I swore then that I'd never come out till I made 
my stake. Well, I ain't made it, and here I am. And I 
ain't going out now. I get the mail and I come right back. 
I won't stop the night at Dyea. I'll hit up Chilcoot soon as 
I change the dogs and get the mail and grub. And so I 
swear once more, by the mill-tails of hell and the head of 



32 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

John the Baptist, I'll never hit for the Outside till I make 
my pile. And I tell you-all, here and now, it's got to be an 
almighty big pile." 

"How much might you call a pile?" Bettles demanded 
from beneath, his arms clutched lovingly around Daylight's 
legs. 

"Yes, how much? What do you call a pile?" others 
cried. 

DayUght steadied himself for a moment and debated. 

"Four or five millions," he said slowly, and held up his 
hand for silence as his statement was received with derisive 
yells. "I'll be real conservative, and put the bottom notch 
at a million. And for not an ounce less'n that will I go 
out of the country." 

Again his statement was received with an outburst of 
derision. Not only had the total gold output of the Yukon 
up to date been below five millions, but no man had ever 
made a strike of a hundred thousand, much less of a million. 

"You-all listen to me. You seen Jack Kearns get a 
hunch to-night. We had him sure beat before the draw. 
His ornery three kings was no good. But he just knew 
there was another king coming — that was his hunch — 
and he got it. And I tell you-all I got a hunch. There's 
a big strike coming on the Yukon, and it's just about due. 
I don't mean no ornery Moosehide, Birch-Creek kind of a 
strike. I mean a real rip-snorter hair-raiser. I tell you-all 
she's in the air and hell-bent for election. Nothing can 
stop her, and she'll come up river. There's where you-all '11 
track my moccasins in the near future if you-all want 
to find me — somewhere in the country around Stewart 
River, Indian River, and Klondike River. When I get 
back with the mail, I'll head that way so fast you-all won't 
see my trail for smoke. She's a-coming, fellows, gold from 
the grass roots down, a hundred dollars to the pan, and a 
stampede in from the Outside fifty thousand strong. You- 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 33 

all '11 think all hell's busted loose when that strike is 
made." 

He raised his glass to his lips. 

"Here's kindness, and hoping you-all '11 be in on it.'^ 

He drank and stepped down from the chair, falling inta 
another one of Bettles' bear-hugs. 

"If I was you, Daylight, I wouldn't mush to-day," Joe 
Hines counselled, coming in from consulting the spirit 
thermometer outside the door. "We're in for a good cold 
snap. It's sixty-two below now, and still goin' down. 
Better wait till she breaks." 

Daylight laughed, and the old sour-doughs around him 
laughed. 

"Just like you short-horns," Bettles cried, "afeard of a 
little frost. And blamed Httle you know Daylight, if you 
think frost kin stop 'm." 

"Freeze his lungs if he travels in it," was the reply. 

"Freeze pap and loUypop! Look here, Hines, you only 
ben in this here country three years. You ain't seasoned 
yet. I've seen Daylight do fifty miles up on the Koyokuk 
on a day when the thermometer busted at seventy-two." 

Hines shook his head dolefully. 

"Them's the kind that does freeze their lungs," he la- 
mented. "If Daylight pulls out before this snap breaks, he'll 
never get through — an' him travelin' without tent or fly." 

"It's a thousand miles to Dyea," Bettles announced, 
climbing on the chair and supporting his swaying body by 
an arm passed around Daylight's neck. "It's a thousand 
miles, I'm sayin', an' most of the trail unbroke, but I bet 
any chechaquo — anything he wants — that Daylight 
makes Dyea in thirty days." 

"That's an average of over thirty-three miles a day," 
Doc Watson warned, "and I've travelled some myself. 
A blizzard on Chilcoot would tie him up for a week." 

"Yep," Bettles retorted, "an' Daylight '11 do the second 



34 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

thousand back again on end in thirty days more, and I got 
five hundred dollars that says so, and damn the blizzards." 

To emphasize his remarks, he pulled out a gold-sack the 
size of a bologna sausage and thumped it down on the bar. 
Doc Watson thumped his own sack alongside. 

"Hold on!" Daylight cried. "Bettles's right, and I want 
in on this. I bet five hundred that sixty days from now 
I pull up at the Tivoli door with the Dyea mail." 

A sceptical roar went up, and a dozen men pulled out 
their sacks. Jack Kearns crowded in close and caught 
Daylight's attention. 

"I take you, Daylight," he cried. "Two to one you 
don't — not in seventy-five days." 

"No charity. Jack," was the reply. "The bettin's even, 
and the time is sixty days." 

"Seventy-five days, and two to one you don't," Kearns 
insisted. "Fifty Mile '11 be wide open and the rim-ice 
rotten." 

"What you win from me is yours," Daylight went on. 
"And, by thunder, Jack, you can't give it back that way. 
I won't bet with you. You're trying to give me money. 
But I tell you-all one thing. Jack, I got another hunch. 
I'm goin' to win it back some one of these days. You-all 
just wait till the big strike up river. Then you and me'U 
take the roof off and sit in a game that'll be full man's size. 
Is it a go?" 

They shook hands. 

"Of course he'll make it," Kearns whispered in Bettles' 
ear. "And there's five hundred Daylight's back in sixty 
days," he added aloud. 

Billy Rawlins closed with the wager, and Bettles hugged 
Kearns ecstatically. 

"By Yupiter, I ban take that bet," Olaf Henderson said, 
dragging Daylight away from Bettles and Kearns. 

"Winner pays!" Daylight shouted, closing the wager. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 35 

"And I'm sure going to win, and sixty days is a long time 
between drinks, so I pay now. Name your brand, you 
hoochinoos! Name your brand 1" 

Bettles, a glass of whiskey in hand, climbed back on his 
chair, and swaying back and forth, sang the one song he 
knew: — 

"0, it's Henry Ward Beecher 
And Sunday-school teachers 

All sing of the sassafras-root; 
But you bet all the same, 
If it had its right name, 

It's the juice of the forbidden fruit." 

The crowd roared out the chorus: — 

"But you bet all the same. 
If it had its right name, 

It's the juice of the forbidden fruit." 

Somebody opened the outer door. A vague gray light 
filtered in. 

"Burning daylight, burning daylight," some one called 
warningly. 

Dayhght paused for nothing, heading for the door and 
pulling down his ear-flaps. Kama stood outside by the 
sled, a long, narrow affair, sixteen inches wide and seven 
and a half feet in length, its slatted bottom raised six inches 
above the steel-shod runners. On it, lashed with thongs of 
moose-hide, were the light canvas bags that contained the 
mail, and the food and gear for dogs and men. In front of 
it, in a single line, lay curled five frost-rimed dogs. They 
were huskies,^ matched in size and color, all unusually large 
and all gray. From their cruel jaws to their bushy tails 
they were as like as peas in their likeness to timber-v/olves. 
Wolves they were, domesticated, it was true, but wolves in 
appearance and in all their characteristics. On top the sled 

1 Husky: a wolf-dog of tremendous strength, endurance, viciousness, 
and sagacity. 



3 6 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

load, thrust under the lashings and ready for immediate 
use, were two pairs of snowshoes. 

Bettles pointed to a robe of Arctic hare skins, the end of 
which showed in the mouth of a bag. 

"That's his bed," he said. "Six pounds of rabbit skins. 
Warmest thing he ever slept under, but I'm damned if it 
could keep me warm, and I can go some myself. Day- 
light's a hell-fire furnace, that's what he is." 

"I'd hate to be that Indian," Doc Watson remarked. 

"He'll kill 'm, he'll kill 'm sure," Bettles chanted exul- 
tantly. "I know. I've ben with Daylight on trail. That 
man ain't never ben tired in his life. Don't know what it 
means. I seen him travel all day with wet socks at forty- 
five below. There ain't another man living can do that." 

While this talk went on, Daylight was saying good-by 
to those that clustered around him. The Virgin wanted 
to kiss him, and, fuddled slightly though he was with the 
whiskey, he saw his way out without compromising with 
the apron-string. He kissed the Virgin, but he kissed the 
other three women with equal partiality. He pulled on his 
long mittens, roused the dogs to their feet, and took his 
place at the gee-pole.^ 

"Mush, you beauties! " he cried. 

The animals threw their weights against their breast- 
bands on the instant, crouching low to the snow and digging 
in their claws. They whined eagerly, and before the sled 
had gone half a dozen lengths both Daylight and Kama 
(in the rear) were running to keep up. And so, running, 
man and dogs dipped over the bank and down to the frozen 
bed of the Yukon, and in the gray light were gone. 

1 A gee-pole: a stout pole projecting forward from one side of the 
front end of the sled, by which the sled is steered. 



CHAPTER IV 

On the river, where was a packed trail and where snow- 
shoes were unnecessary, the dogs averaged six miles an hour. 
To keep up with them, the two men were compelled to run. 
Daylight and Kama relieved each other regularly at the 
gee-pole, for here was the hard work of steering the flying 
sled and of keeping in advance of it. The man relieved 
dropped behind the sled, occasionally leaping upon it and 
resting. 

It was severe work, but of the sort that was exhilarating. 

They were flying, getting over the ground, making the 
most of the packed trail. Later on they would come to the 
unbroken trail, where three miles an hour would constitute 
good going. Then there would be no riding and resting, 
and no running. Then the gee-pole would be the easier 
task, and a man would come back to it to rest after having 
completed his spell to the fore, breaking trail with the snow- 
shoes for the dogs. Such work was far from exhilarating. 
Also, they must expect places where for miles at a time they 
must toil over chaotic ice- jams, where they would be for- 
tunate if they made two miles an hour. And there would 
be the inevitable bad jams, short ones, it was true, but so 
bad that a mile an hour would require terrific effort. 

Kama and Daylight did not talk. In the nature of the 
work they could not, nor in their own natures were they 
given to talking while they worked. At rare intervals, 
when necessary, they addressed each other in monosylla- 
bles, Kama, for the most part, contenting himself with 
grunts. Occasionally a dog whined or snarled, but in the 

37 



38 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

main the team kept silent. Only could be heard the sharp, 
jarring grate of the steel runners over the hard surface 
and the creak of the straining sled. 

As if through a wall, Daylight had passed from the hum 
and roar of the Tivoli into another world — a world of 
silence and immobility. Nothing stirred. The Yukon 
slept under a coat of ice three feet thick. No breath of 
wind blew. Nor did the sap move in the hearts of the 
spruce trees that forested the river banks on either hand. 
The trees, burdened with the last infinitesimal pennyweight 
of snow their branches could hold, stood in absolute petri- 
faction. The slightest tremor would have dislodged the 
snow, and no snow was dislodged. The sled was the one 
point of life and motion in the midst of the solemn quietude, 
and the harsh churn of its runners but emphasized the 
silence through which it moved. 

It was a dead world, and furthermore, a gray world. 
The weather was sharp and clear; there was no moisture 
in the atmosphere, no fog nor haze ; yet the sky was a gray 
pall. The reason for this was that, though there was no 
cloud in the sky to dim the brightness of day, there was no 
sun to give brightness. Far to the south the sun chmbed 
steadily to meridian, but between it and the frozen Yukon 
intervened the bulge of the earth. The Yukon lay in a 
night shadow, and the day itself was in reality a long twi- 
light. At a quarter before twelve, where a wide bend of 
the river gave a long vista south, the sun showed its upper 
rim above the sky-line. But it did not rise perpendicularly. 
Instead, it rose on a slant, so that by high noon it had barely 
lifted its lower rim clear of the horizon. It was a dim, wan 
sun. There was no heat to its rays, and a man could gaze 
squarely into the full orb of it without hurt to his eyes. 
No sooner had it reached meridian than it began its slant 
back beneath the horizon, and at quarter past twelve the 
earth threw its shadow again over the land. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 39 

The men and dogs raced on. Daylight and Kama were 
both savages so far as their stomachs were concerned. 
They could eat irregularly in time and quantity, gorging 
hugely on occasion, and on occasion going long stretches 
without eating at all. As for the dogs, they ate but once a 
day, and then rarely did they receive more than a pound 
each of dried fish. They were ravenously hungry and at 
the same time splendidly in condition. Like the wolves, 
their forebears, their nutritive processes were rigidly eco- 
nomical and perfect. There was no waste. The last 
least particle of what they consumed was transformed into 
energy. And Kama and Daylight were like them. De- 
scended themselves from the generations that had eadured, 
they, too, endured. Theirs was the simple, elemental 
economy. A little food equipped them with prodigious 
energy. Nothing was lost. A man of soft civilization, 
sitting at a desk, would have grown lean and woe-begone 
on the fare that kept Kama and Daylight at the top-notch of 
physical efficiency. They knew, as the man at the desk 
never knows, what it is to be normally hungry all the time, 
so that they could eat any time. Their appetites were 
always with them and on edge, so that they bit voraciously 
into whatever offered and with an entire innocence of indi- 
gestion. 

By three in the afternoon the long twilight faded into 
night. The stars came out, very near and sharp and bright, 
and by their light dogs and men still kept the trail. They 
were indefatigable. And this was no record run of a single 
day, but the first day of sixty such days. Though Day- 
light had passed a night without sleep, a night of dancing 
and carouse, it seemed to have left no effect. For this 
there were two explanations: first, his remarkable vitality; 
and next, the fact that such nights were rare in his expe- 
rience. Again enters the man at the desk, whose physical 
efficiency would be more hurt by a cup of coffee at bedtime 



40 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

than could Daylight's by a whole night long of strong drink 
and excitement. 

Daylight travelled without a watch, feeling the passage 
of time and largely estimating it by subconscious processes. 
By what he considered must be six o'clock, he began look- 
ing for a camping-place. The trail, at a bend, plunged out 
across the river. Not having found a likely spot, they held 
on for the opposite bank a mile away. But midway they 
encountered an ice- jam which took an hour of heavy work 
to cross. At last Daylight glimpsed what he was looking 
for, a dead tree close by the bank. The sled was run in 
and up. Kama grunted with satisfaction, and the work of 
making camp was begun. 

The division of labor was excellent. Each knew what he 
must do. With one axe Daylight chopped down the dead 
pine. Kama, with a snowshoe and the other axe, cleared 
away the two feet of snow above the Yukon ice and chopped 
a supply of ice for cooking purposes. A piece of dry birch 
bark started the fire, and Daylight went ahead with the 
cooking while the Indian unloaded the sled and fed the dogs 
their ration of dried fish. The food sacks he slung high 
in the trees beyond leaping-reach of the huskies. Next, 
he chopped down a young spruce tree and trimmed off the 
boughs. Close to the fire he trampled down the soft snow 
and covered the packed space with the boughs. On this 
flooring he tossed his own and Daylight's gear -bags, con- 
taining dry socks and underwear and their sleeping-robes. 
Kama, however, had two robes of rabbit skin to Daylight's 
one. 

They worked on steadily, without speaking, losing no 
time. Each did whatever was needed, without thought of 
leaving to the other the least task that presented itself to 
hand. Thus, Kama saw when more ice was needed and 
went and got it, while a snowshoe, pushed over by the 
lunge of a dog, was stuck on end again by Dayhght. While 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 41 

coffee was boiling, bacon drying, and flapjacks were being 
mixed. Daylight found time to put on a big pot of beans. 
Kama came back, sat down on the edge of the spruce 
boughs, and in the interval of waiting, mended harness. 

''I t'ink dat Skookum and Booga make um plenty fight 
maybe," Kama remarked, as they sat down to eat. 

"Keep an eye on them," was Dayhght's answer. 

And this was their sole conversation throughout the 
meal. Once, with a muttered imprecation, Kama leaped 
away, a stick of firewood in hand, and clubbed apart a 
tangle of fighting dogs. Daylight, between mouthfuls, fed 
chunks of ice into the tin pot, where it thawed into water. 
The meal finished, Kama replenished the fire, cut more 
wood for the morning, and returned to the spruce bough 
bed and his harness-mending. Daylight cut up generous 
chunks of bacon and dropped them in the pot of bubbling 
beans. The moccasins of both men were wet, and this in 
spite of the intense cold ; so when there was no further need 
for them to leave the oasis of spruce boughs, they took 
off their moccasins and hung them on short sticks to dry 
before the fire, turning them about from time to time. 
When the beans were finally cooked, Daylight ran part of 
them into a bag of flour-sacking a foot and a half long and 
three inches in diameter. This he then laid on the snow to 
freeze. The remainder of the beans were left in the pot for 
breakfast. 

It was past nine o'clock, and they were ready for bed. 
The squabbling and bickering among the dogs had long 
since died down, and the weary animals were curled in the 
snow, each with his feet and nose bunched together and 
covered by his wolf's brush of a tail. Kama spread his 
sleeping-furs and lighted his pipe. Daylight rolled a brown- 
paper cigarette, and the second conversation of the 
evening took place. 

'T think we come near sixty miles," said Daylight. 



42 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"Um, I t'ink so," said Kama. 

They rolled into their robes, all-standing, each with a 
woollen Mackinaw jacket on in place of the parkas ^ they 
had worn all day. Swiftly, almost on the instant they 
closed their eyes, they were asleep. The stars leaped 
and danced in the frosty air, and overhead the colored 
bars of the aurora borealis were shooting like great search- 
lights. 

In the darkness Daylight awoke and roused Kama. 
Though the aurora still flamed, another day had begun. 
Warmed-over flapjacks, warmed-over beans, fried bacon, 
and coffee composed the breakfast. The dogs got nothing, 
though they watched with wistful mien from a distance, 
sitting up in the snow, their tails curled around their paws. 
Occasionally they lifted one fore paw or the other, ^vith a 
restless movement, as if the frost tingled in their feet. It 
was bitter cold, at least sixty-five below zero, and when 
Kama harnessed the dogs with naked hands he was com- 
pelled several times to go over to the fire and warm the 
numbing finger-tips. Together the two men loaded and 
lashed the sled. They warmed their hands for the last 
time, pulled on their mittens, and mushed the dogs over the 
bank and down to the river-trail. According to Daylight's 
estimate, it was around seven o'clock; but the stars danced 
just as brilliantly, and faint, luminous streaks of greenish 
aurora still pulsed overhead. 

Two hours later it became suddenly dark — so dark 
that they kept to the trail largely by instinct; and Day- 
light knew that his time-estimate had been right. It was 
the darkness before dawn, never anywhere more conspicu- 
ous than on the Alaskan wdnter-trail. Slowly the gray light 
came stealing through the gloom, imperceptibly at first, 
so that it was almost with surprise that they noticed the 
vague loom of the trail underfoot. Next, they were able 

'^ Parka: a light, hooded, smock-like garment made of cotton drill. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 43 

to see the wheel-dog, and then the whole string of running 
dogs and snow-stretches on either side. Then the near 
bank loomed for a moment and was gone, loomed a second 
time and remained. In a few minutes the far bank, a mile 
away, unobtrusively came into view, and ahead and behind, 
the whole frozen river could be seen, with off to the left 
a wide-extending range of sharp-cut, snow-covered moun- 
tains. And that was all. No sun arose. The gray light 
remained gray. 

Once, during the day, a lynx leaped lightly across the 
trail, under the very nose of the lead-dog, and vanished in 
the white woods. The dogs' wild impulses roused. They 
raised the hunting-cry of the pack, surged against their 
collars, and swerved aside in pursuit. Daylight, yelling 
"Whoa!" struggled with the gee-pole and managed to 
overturn the sled into the soft snow. The dogs gave 
up, the sled was righted, and five minutes later they were 
flying along the hard-packed trail again. The lynx was 
the only sign of life they had seen in two days, and it, 
leaping velvet-footed and vanishing, had been more like an 
apparition. 

At twelve o'clock, when the sun peeped over the earth- 
bulge, they stopped and built a small fire on the ice. Day- 
light, with the axe, chopped chunks off the frozen sausage 
of beans. These, thawed and warmed in the frying-pan, 
constituted their meal. They had no coffee. He did not 
believe in the burning of daylight for such a luxury. The 
dogs stopped wrangling with one another, and looked on 
wistfully. Only at night did they get their pound of fish. 
In the meantime they worked. 

The cold snap continued. Only men of iron kept the 
trail at such low temperatures, and Kama and Daylight 
were picked men of their races. But Kama knew the other 
was the better man, and thus, at the start, he was himself 
foredoomed to defeat. Not that he slackened his effort or 



44 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

willingness by the slightest conscious degree, but that he was 
beaten by the burden he carried in his mind. His attitude 
toward Daylight was worshipful. Stoical, taciturn, proud 
of his physical prowess, he found all these qualities incar- 
nated in his white companion. Here was one that excelled 
in the things worth excelHng in, a man-god ready to hand, 
and Kama could not but worship — withal he gave no signs 
of it. No wonder the race of white men conquered, was his 
thought, when it bred men like this man. WTiat chance had 
the Indian against such a dogged, enduring breed? Even 
the Indians did not travel at such low temperatures, and 
theirs was the wisdom of thousands of generations; yet 
here was this Daylight, from the soft Southland, harder 
than they, laughing at their fears, and swinging along the 
trail ten and twelve hours a day. And this Daylight 
thought that he could keep up a day's pace of thirty-three 
miles for sixty days! Wait till a fresh fall of snow came 
down, or they struck the unbroken trail or the rotten rim- 
ice that fringed open water. 

In the meantime Kama kept the pace, never grumbling, 
never shirking. Sixty-five degrees below zero is very cold. 
Since water freezes at thirty-two above, sixty-five below 
meant ninety-seven degrees below freezing-point. Some 
idea of the significance of this may be gained by conceiv- 
ing of an equal difference of temperature in the opposite 
direction. One hundred and twenty-nine on the ther- 
mometer constitutes a very hot day, yet such a tempera- 
ture is but ninety-seven degrees above freezing. Double 
this difference, and possibly some slight conception may 
be gained of the cold through which Kama and Daylight 
travelled between dark and dark and through the dark. 

Kama froze the skin on his cheek-bones, despite frequent 
rubbings, and the flesh turned black and sore. Also he 
slightly froze the edges of his lung-tissues — a dangerous 
thing, and the basic reason why a man should not unduly 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 45 

exert himself in the open at sixty-five below. But Kama 
never complained, and Daylight was a furnace of heat, 
sleeping as warmly under his six pounds of rabbit skins as 
the other did under twelve pounds. 

On the second night, fifty more miles to the good, they 
camped in the vicinity of the boundary between Alaska and 
the Northwest Territory. The rest of the journey, save the 
last short stretch to Dyea, would be travelled on Canadian 
territory. With the hard trail, and in the absence of fresh 
snow. Daylight planned to make the camp of Forty Mile 
on the fourth night. He told Kama as much, but on the 
third day the temperature began to rise, and they knew 
snow was not far off; for on the Yukon it must get warm in 
order to snow. Also, on this day, they encountered ten 
miles of chaotic ice-jams, where, a thousand times, they 
lifted the loaded sled over the huge cakes by the strength 
of their arms and lowered it down again. Here the dogs 
were well-nigh useless, and both they and the men were 
tried excessively by the roughness of the way. An hour's 
extra running that night caught up only part of the lost 
time. 

In the morning they awoke to find ten inches of snow on 
their robes. The dogs were buried under it and were loath 
to leave their comfortable nests. This new snow meant 
hard going. The sled runners would not slide over it so 
well, while one of the men must go in advance of the dogs 
and pack it down with snowshoes so that they should not 
wallow. Quite different was it from the ordinary snow 
known to those of the Southland. It was hard, and fine, 
and dry. It was more like sugar. Kick it, and it flew 
with a hissing noise like sand. There was no cohesion 
among the particles, and it could not be moulded into snow- 
balls. It was not composed of flakes, but of crystals — 
tiny, geometrical frost-crystals. In truth, it was not snow, 
but frost. 



46 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

The weather was warm, as well, barely twenty below 
zero, and the two men, with raised ear-flaps and danghng 
mittens, sweated as they toiled. They failed to make Forty 
Mile that night, and when they passed that camp next day 
Daylight paused only long enough to get the mail and addi- 
tional grub. On the afternoon of the following day they 
camped at the mouth of the Klondike River. Not a soul 
had they encountered since Forty Mile, and they had made 
their own trail. As yet, that winter, no one had travelled 
the river south of Forty Mile, and, for that matter, the whole 
winter through they might be the only ones to travel it. 
In that day the Yukon was a lonely land. Between the 
Klondike River and Salt Water at Dyea intervened six 
hundred miles of snow-covered wilderness, and in all that 
distance there were but two places where Daylight might 
look forward to meeting men. Both were isolated trading' 
posts, Sixty Mile and Fort Selkirk. In the summer-time 
Indians might be met with at the mouths of the Stewart 
and White rivers, at the Big and Little Salmons, and on 
Lake Le Barge; but in the winter, as he well knew, they 
would be on the trail of the moose-herds, following them 
back into the mountains. 

That night, camped at the mouth of the Klondike, Day- 
light did not turn in when the evening's work was done. 
Had a white man been present. Daylight would have re- 
marked that he felt his "hunch" working. As it was, he 
tied on his snowshoes, left the dogs curled in the snow and 
Kama breathing heavily under his rabbit skins, and climbed 
up to the big flat above the high earth-bank. But the 
spruce trees were too thick for an outlook, and he threaded 
his way across the flat and up the first steep slopes of the 
mountain at the back. Here, flowing in from the east at 
right angles, he could see the Klondike, and, bending 
grandly from the south, the Yukon. To the left, and down- 
stream, toward Moosehide Mountain, the huge splash of 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 47 

white, from which it took its name, showing clearly in the 
starlight. Lieutenant Schwatka had given it its name, but 
he, Daylight, had first seen it long before that intrepid 
explorer had crossed the Chilcoot and rafted down the 
Yukon. 

But the mountain received only passing notice. Day- 
light's interest was centred in the big flat itself, with deep 
water all along its edge for steamboat landings. 

"A sure enough likely town site," he muttered. "Room 
for a camp of forty thousand men. All that's needed is the 
gold-strike." He meditated for a space. "Ten dollars 
to the pan '11 do it, and it'd be the all-firedest stampede 
Alaska ever seen. And if it don't come here, it'll come 
somewhere hereabouts. It's a sure good idea to keep an 
eye out for town sites all the way up." 

He stood a while longer, gazing out over the lonely fiat 
and visioning with constructive imagination the scene if 
the stampede did come. In fancy, he placed the sawmills, 
the big trading stores, the saloons, and dance-halls, and the 
long streets of miners' cabins. And along those streets he 
saw thousands of men passing up and down, while before 
the stores were the heavy freighting-sleds, with long strings 
of dogs attached. Also he saw the heavy freighters pulling 
down the main street and heading up the frozen Klondike 
toward the imagined somewhere where the diggings must 
be located. 

He laughed and shook the vision from his eyes, descended 
to the level, and crossed the flat to camp. Five minutes 
after he had rolled up in his robe, he opened his eyes and sat 
up, amazed that he was not already asleep. He glanced at 
the Indian sleeping beside him, at the embers of the dying 
fire, at the five dogs beyond, with their wolf's brushes 
curled over their noses, and at the four snowshoes standing 
upright in the snow. 

"It's sure hell the way that hunch works on me,'* 



48 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

he murmured. His mind reverted to the poker game. 
"Four kings!" He grinned reminiscently. "That was a 
hunch!" 

He lay down again, pulled the edge of the robe around 
his neck and over his ear-flaps, closed his eyes, and this 
time fell asleep. 



CHAPTER V 

At Sixty Mile they restocked provisions, added a few 
pounds of letters to their load, and held steadily on. From 
Forty Mile they had had unbroken trail, and they could look 
forward only to unbroken trail clear to Dyea. Daylight 
stood it magnificently, but the killing pace was beginning 
to tell on Kama. His pride kept his mouth shut, but the 
result of the chilling of his lungs in the cold snap could not 
be concealed. Microscopically small had been the edges 
of the lung-tissue touched by the frost, but they now began 
to slough off, giving rise to a dry, hacking cough. Any 
unusually severe exertion precipitated spells of coughing, 
during which he was almost like a man in a fit. The blood 
congested in his eyes till they bulged, while the tears ran 
down his cheeks. A whiff of the smoke from frjdng bacon 
would start him off for a half -hour's paroxysm, and he kept 
carefully to windward when Daylight was cooking. 

They plodded days upon days and without end over 
the soft, unpacked snow. It was hard, monotonous work, 
with none of the joy and blood-stir that went with flying 
over hard surface. Now one man to the fore in the snow- 
shoes, and now the other, it was a case of stubborn, un- 
mitigated plod. A yard of powdery snow had to be pressed 
down, and the wide-webbed shoe, under a man's weight, 
sank a full dozen inches into the soft surface. Snowshoe 
work, under such conditions, called for the use of muscles 
other than those used in ordinary walking. From step to 
step the rising foot could not come up and forward on a 
slant. It had to be raised perpendicularly. When the 
snowshoe was pressed into the snow, its nose was confronted 

49 



50 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

by a vertical wall of snow twelve inches high. If the foot, 
in rising, slanted forward the slightest bit, the nose of the 
shoe penetrated the obstructing wall and tipped downward 
till the heel of the shoe struck the man's leg behind. Thus 
up, straight up, twelve inches, each foot must be raised 
every time and all the time, ere the forward swing from the 
knee could begin. 

On this partially packed surface followed the dogs, the 
man at the gee-pole, and the sled. At the best, toiling as 
only picked men could toil, they made no more than three 
miles an hour. This meant longer hours of travel, and Day- 
light, for good measure and for a margin against accidents, 
hit the trail for twelve hours a day. Since three hours were 
consumed by making camp at night and cooking beans, by 
getting breakfast in the morning and breaking camp, and 
by thawing beans at the midday halt, nine hours were left 
for sleep and recuperation, and neither men nor dogs wasted 
many minutes of those nine hours. 

At Selkirk, the trading post near Pelly River, Daylight 
suggested that Kama lay over, rejoining him on the back 
trip from Dyea. A strayed Indian from Lake Le Barge was 
willing to take his place; but Kama was obdurate. He 
grunted with a slight intonation of resentment, and that 
was all. The dogs, however, Daylight changed, leaving his 
own exhausted team to rest up against his return, while he 
went on with six fresh dogs. 

They travelled till ten o'clock the night they reached 
Selkirk, and at six next morning they plunged ahead into 
the next stretch of wilderness of nearly five hundred miles 
that lay between Selkirk and Dyea. A second cold snap 
came on, but cold or warm it was all the same, an unbroken 
trail. When the thermometer went down to fifty below, it 
was even harder to travel, for at that low temperature the 
hard frost-crystals were more like sand-grains in the resist- 
ance they offered to the sled runners. The dogs had to 



BURNING DAYLIGHT $1 

pull harder than over the same snow at twenty or thirty 
below zero. Daylight increased the day's travel to thirteen 
hours. He jealously guarded the margin he had gained, for 
he knew there were difficult stretches to come. 

It was not yet quite midwinter, and the turbulent Fifty 
Mile River vindicated his judgment. In many places it 
ran wide open, with precarious rim-ice fringing it on either 
side. In numerous places, where the water dashed against 
the steep-sided bluffs, rim-ice was unable to form. They 
turned and twisted, now crossing the river, now coming 
back again, sometimes making half a dozen attempts before 
they found a way over a particularly bad stretch. It was 
slow work. The ice-bridges had to be tested, and either 
Daylight or Kama went in advance, snowshoes on their 
feet, and long poles carried crosswise in their hands. Thus, 
if they broke through, they could cling to the pole that 
bridged the hole made by their bodies. Several such acci- 
dents were the share of each. At fifty below zero, a man 
wet to the waist cannot travel without freezing; so each 
ducking meant delay. As soon as rescued, the wet man 
ran up and down to keep up his circulation, while his dry 
companion built a fire. Thus protected, a change of gar- 
ments could be made and the wet ones dried against the 
next misadventure. 

To make matters worse, this dangerous river travel could 
not be done in the dark, and their working day was reduced 
to the six hours of twilight. Every moment was precious, 
and they strove never to lose one. Thus, before the first 
hint of the coming of gray day, camp was broken, sled load- 
ed, dogs harnessed, and the two men crouched waiting over 
the fire. Nor did they make the midday halt to eat. As it 
was, they were running far behind their schedule, each day 
eating into the margin they had run up. There were days 
when they made fifteen miles, and days when they made a 
dozen. And there was one bad stretch where in two days 



52 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

they covered nine miles, being compelled to turn their 
backs three times on the river and to portage sled and 
outfit over the mountains. 

At last they cleared the dread Fifty Mile River and came 
out on Lake Le Barge. Here was no open water nor jammed 
ice. For thirty miles or more the snow lay level as a table; 
withal it lay three feet deep and was soft as flour. Three 
miles an hour was the best they could make, but Daylight 
celebrated the passing of the Fifty Mile by travelling late. 
At eleven in the morning they emerged at the foot of the 
lake. At three in the afternoon, as the Arctic night closed 
down, he caught his first sight of the head of the lake, and 
with the first stars took his bearings. At eight in the even- 
ing they left the lake behind and entered the mouth of the 
Lewes River. Here a halt of half an hour was made, while 
chunks of frozen, boiled beans were thawed and the dogs 
were given an extra ration of fish. Then they pulled on up 
the river till one in the morning, when they made their 
regular camp. 

They had hit the trail sixteen hours on end that day, the 
dogs had come in too tired to fight among themselves or 
even snarl, and Kama had perceptibly limped the last 
several miles; yet Daylight was on trail next morning at 
six o'clock. By eleven he was at the foot of White Horse, 
and that night saw him camped beyond the Box Canon, 
the last bad river-stretch behind him, the string of lakes 
before him. 

There was no let up in his pace. Twelve hours a day, 
six in the twilight, and six in the dark, they toiled on the 
trail. Three hours were consumed in cooking, repairing 
harnesses, and making and breaking camp, and the remain- 
ing nine hours dogs and men slept as if dead. The iron 
strength of Kama broke. Day by day the terrific toil sapped 
him. Day by day he consumed more of his reserves of 
strength. He became slower of movement, the resiliency 



BURNING DAYLIGHT S3 

went out of his muscles, and his Hmp became permanent. 
Yet he labored stoically on, never shirking, never grunting a 
hint of complaint. Daylight was thin-faced and tired. He 
looked tired ; yet somehow, with that marvelous mechanism 
of a body that was his, he drove on, ever on, remorselessly 
on. Never was he more a god in Kama's mind than in the 
last days of the south-bound traverse, as the failing Indian 
watched him, ever to the fore, pressing onward with urgency 
of endurance such as Kama had never seen nor dreamed 
could thrive in human form. 

The time came when Kama was unable to go in the lead 
and break trail, and it was a proof that he was far gone 
when he permitted Daylight to toil all day at the heavy 
snowshoe work. Lake by lake they crossed the string of 
lakes from Marsh to Linderman, and began the ascent of 
Chilcoot. By all rights. Daylight should have camped 
below the last pitch of the pass at the dim end of day; 
but he kept on and over and down to Sheep Camp, while 
behind him raged a snow-storm that would have delayed 
him twenty-four hours. 

This last excessive strain broke Kama completely. In 
the morning he could not travel. At five, when called, he 
sat up after a struggle, groaned, and sank back again. 
Daylight did the camp work of both, harnessed the dogs, 
and, when ready for the start, rolled the helpless Indian in 
all three sleeping robes and lashed him on top of the sled. 
The going was good; they were on the last lap; and he 
raced the dogs down through Dyea Cafion and along the 
hard-packed trail that led to Dyea Post. And running 
still, Kama groaning on top the load, and Daylight leaping 
at the gee-pole to avoid going under the runners of the 
flying sled, they arrived at Dyea by the sea. 

True to his promise. Daylight did not stop. An hour's 
time saw the sled loaded with the ingoing mail and grub, 
fresh dogs harnessed, and a fresh Indian engaged. Kama 



54 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

never spoke from the time of his arrival till the moment 
Daylight, ready to depart, stood beside him to say good-by. 
They shook hands. 

"You kill um dat damn Indian," Kama said, "Sawee, 
Daylight? You kill um." 

"He'll sure last as far as Pelly," Daylight grinned. 

Kama shook his head doubtfully, and rolled over on his 
side, turning his back in token of farewell. 

Daylight won across Chilcoot that same day, dropping 
down five hundred feet in the darkness and the flurrying 
snow to Crater Lake, where he camped. It was a "cold" 
camp, far above the timber-line, and he had not burdened 
his sled with firewood. That night three feet of snow 
covered them, and in the black morning, when they dug 
themselves out, the Indian tried to desert. He had had 
enough of travelling with what he considered a madman. 
But Daylight persuaded him in grim ways to stay by the 
outfit, and they«pulled on across Deep Lake and Long Lake 
and dropped down to the level-going of Lake Linderman. 

It was the same killing pace going in as coming out, 
and the Indian did not stand it as well as Kama. He, too, 
never complained. Nor did he try again to desert. He 
toiled on and did his best, while he renewed his resolve to 
steer clear of Daylight in the future. The days slipped 
into days, nights and twilights alternating, cold snaps gave 
way to snow-falls, and cold snaps came on again, and all 
the while, through the long hours, the miles piled up behind 
them. 

But on the Fifty Mile accident befell them. Crossing an 
ice-bridge, the dogs broke through and were swept under 
the down-stream ice. The traces that connected the team 
with the wheel-dog parted, and the team was never seen 
again. Only the one wheel-dog remained, and Daylight 
harnessed the Indian and himself to the sled. But a man 
cannot take the place of a dog at such work, and the two 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 55 

men were attempting to do the work of five dogs. At the 
end of the first hour, Dayhght lightened up. Dog-food, 
extra gear, and the spare axe were thrown away. Under 
the extraordinary exertion the dog snapped a tendon the 
following day, and was hopelessly disabled. Daylight 
shot it, and abandoned the sled. On his back he took one 
hundred and sixty pounds of mail and grub, and on the 
Indian's put one hundred and twenty-five pounds. The 
stripping of gear was remorseless. The Indian was appalled 
when he saw every pound of worthless mail matter retained, 
while beans, cups, pails, plates, and extra clothing were 
thrown by the board. One robe each was kept, one axe, one 
tin pail, and a scant supply of bacon and flour. Bacon 
could be eaten raw on a pinch, and flour, stirred in hot 
water, could keep men going. Even the rifle and the score 
of rounds of ammunition were left behind. 

And in this fashion they covered the two hundred miles 
to Selkirk. Daylight travelled late and early, the hours 
formerly used by camp-making and dog-tending being now 
devoted to the trail. At night they crouched over a small 
fire, wrapped in their robes, drinking flour broth and thaw- 
ing bacon on the ends of sticks; and in the morning dark- 
ness, without a word, they arose, slipped on their packs, 
adjusted head-straps, and hit the trail. The last miles into 
Selkirk, Daylight drove the Indian before him, a hollow- 
cheeked, gaunt-eyed wraith of a man who else would have 
lain down and slept or abandoned his burden of mail. 

At Selkirk, the old team of dogs, fresh and in condition, 
were harnessed, and the same day saw Daylight plodding 
on, alternating places at the gee-pole, as a matter of course, 
with the Le Barge Indian who had volunteered on the way 
out. Daylight was two days behind his schedule, and fall- 
ing snow and unpacked trail kept him two days behind all 
the way to Forty Mile. And here the weather favored. 
It was time for a big cold snap, and he gambled on it, cutting 



56 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

down the weight of grub for dogs and men. The men of 
Forty Mile shook their heads ominously, and demanded to 
know what he would do if the snow still fell. 

'That cold snap's sure got to come," he laughed, and 
mushed out on the trail. 

A number of sleds had passed back and forth already that 
winter between Forty Mile and Circle City, and the trail 
was well packed. And the cold snap came and remained, and 
Circle City was only two hundred miles away. The Le 
Barge Indian was a young man, unlearned yet in his own 
limitations, and filled with pride. He took Daylight's 
pace with joy, and even dreamed, at first, that he would 
play the white man out. The first hundred miles he looked 
for signs of weakening, and marvelled that he saw them not. 
Throughout the second hundred miles he observed signs in 
himself, and gritted his teeth and kept up. And ever Day- 
light flew on and on, running at the gee-pole or resting 
his spell on top the flying sled. The last day, clearer and 
colder than ever, gave perfect going, and they covered 
seventy miles. It was ten at night when they pulled up the 
earth-bank and flew along the main street of Circle City; 
and the young Indian, though it was his spell to ride, leaped 
off and ran behind the sled. It was honorable braggadocio, 
and despite the fact that he had found his limitations and 
was pressing desperately against them, he ran gamely on. 



CHAPTER VI 

A CROWD filled the Tivoli — the old crowd that had seen 
Daylight depart two months before; for this was the night 
of the sixtieth day, and opinion was divided as ever as to 
whether or not he would compass the achievement. At 
ten o'clock bets were still being made, though the odds rose, 
bet by bet, against his success, Down in her heart the 
Virgin believed he had failed, yet she made a bet of twenty 
ounces with Charley Bates, against forty ounces, that Day- 
light would arrive before midnight. 

She it was who heard the first yelps of the dogs. 

"Listen ! " she cried. "It's Daylight ! " 

There was a general stampede for the door; but when 
the double storm-doors were thrown wide open, the crowd 
fell back. They heard the eager whining of dogs, the snap 
of a dog-whip, and the voice of Daylight crying encourage- 
ment as the weary animals capped all they had done by 
dragging the sled in over the wooden floor. They came in 
with a rush, and with them rushed in the frost, a visible 
vapor of smoking white, through which their heads and 
backs showed, as they strained in the harness, till they had 
all the seeming of swimming in a river. Behind them, at 
the gee-pole, came Daylight, hidden to the knees by the 
swirling frost through which he appeared to wade. 

He was the same old Daylight, withal lean and tired- 
looking, and his black eyes were sparkling and flashing 
brighter than ever. His parka of cotton drill hooded him 
like a monk, and fell in straight lines to his knees. Grimed 
and scorched by camp-smoke and fire, the garment in itself 
told the story of his trip. A two-months' beard covered 

57 



58 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

his face; and the beard, in turn, was matted with the ice 
of his breathing through the long seventy-mile run. 

His entry was spectacular, melodramatic; and he knew 
it. It was his life, and he was living it at the top of his bent. 
Among his fellows he was a great man, an Arctic hero. He 
was proud of the fact, and it was a high moment for him, 
fresh from two thousand miles of trail, to come surging into 
that bar-room, dogs, sled, mail, Indian, paraphernalia, and 
all. He had performed one more exploit that would make 
the Yukon ring with his name — he. Burning Daylight, the 
king of travellers and dog-mushers. 

He experienced a thrill of surprise as the roar of welcome 
went up and as every familiar detail of the Tivoli greeted 
his vision — the long bar and the array of bottles, the gam- 
bling games, the big stove, the weigher at the gold-scales, 
the musicians, the men and women, the Virgin, Ceha, and 
NelHe, Dan MacDonald, Bettles, Billy RawHns, Olaf Hen- 
derson, Doc Watson, — all of them. It was just as he had 
left it, and in all seeming it might well be the very day he 
had left. The sixty days of incessant travel through the 
white wilderness suddenly telescoped, and had no existence 
in time. They were a moment, an incident. He had plunged 
out and into them through the wall of silence, and back 
through the wall of silence he had plunged, apparently the 
next instant, and into the roar and turmoil of the Tivoli. 

A glance do\%Ti at the sled with its canvas mail-bags was 
necessary to reassure him of the reality of those sixty days 
and the two thousand miles over the ice. As in a dream, 
he shook the hands that were thrust out to him. He felt 
a vast exaltation. Life was magnificent. He loved it all. 
A great sense of humanness and comradeship swept over 
him. These were all his, his own kind. It was immense, 
tremendous. He felt melting in the heart of him, and he 
would have liked to shake hands with them all at once, to 
gather them to his breast in one mighty embrace. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT S^ 

He drew a deep breath and cried: "The winner pays, 
and I'm the winner, ain't I? Surge up, you-all Malemutes 
and Siwashes, and name your poison ! There's your Dyea 
mail, straight from Salt Water, and no hornswogglin about 
it! Cast the lashings adrift, you-all, and wade into it! " 

A dozen pairs of hands were at the sled-lashings, when 
the young Le Barge Indian, bending at the same task, 
suddenly and limply straightened up. In his eyes was a 
great surprise. He stared about him wildly, for the thing 
he was undergoing was new to him. He was profoundly 
struck by an unguessed limitation. He shook as with a 
palsy, and he gave at the knees, slowly sinking down to fall 
suddenly across the sled and to know the smashing blow of 
darkness across his consciousness. 

"Exhaustion," said Daylight. "Take him off and put 
him to bed, some of you-all. He's sure a good Indian." 

"Daylight's right," was Doc Watson's verdict, a moment 
later. "The man's plumb tuckered out." 

The mail was taken charge of, the dogs driven away to 
quarters and fed, and Bettles struck up the paean of the 
sassafras root as they lined up against the long bar to drink 
and talk and collect their debts. 

A few minutes later, Daylight was whirling around the 
dance-floor, waltzing with the Virgin. He had replaced his 
parka with his fur cap and blanket-cloth coat, kicked off 
his frozen moccasins, and was dancing in his stocking feet. 
After wetting himself to the knees late that afternoon, he 
had run on without changing his foot-gear, and to the knees 
his long German socks were matted with ice. In the 
warmth of the room it began to thaw and to break apart in 
clinging chunks. These chunks rattled together as his legs 
flew around, and every little while they fell clattering to the 
floor and were slipped upon by the other dancers. But 
everybody forgave Daylight. He, who was one of the few 
that made the Law in that far land, who set the ethical 



60 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

pace, and by conduct gave the standard of right and wrong, 
was nevertheless above the Law. He was one of those 
rare and favored mortals who can do no wrong. What he 
did had to be right, whether others were permitted or not 
to do the same things. Of course, such mortals are so 
favored by virtue of the fact that they almost always un- 
swervingly do the right and do it in finer and higher ways 
than other men. So Daylight, an elder hero in that young 
land and at the same time younger than most of them, moved 
as a creature apart, as a man above men, as a man who was 
greatly man and all man. And small wonder it was that 
the Virgin yielded herself to his arms, as they danced dance 
after dance, and was sick at heart at the knowledge that he 
found nothing in her more than a good friend and an excel- 
lent dancer. Small consolation it was to know that he had 
never loved any woman. She was sick with love of him, 
and he danced with her as he would dance with any woman, 
as he would dance with a man who was a good dancer and 
upon whose arm was tied a handkerchief to conventionalize 
him into a woman. 

One such man Daylight danced with that night. Among 
frontiersmen it has always been a test of endurance for one 
man to whirl another down; and when Ben Davis, the 
faro-dealer, a gaudy bandanna on his arm, got Daylight in a 
Virginia reel, the fun began. The reel broke up and all fell 
back to watch. Around and around the two men whirled, 
always in the one direction. Word was passed on into the 
big bar-room, and bar and gambling tables were deserted. 
Everybody wanted to see, and they packed and jammed 
the dance-room. The musicians played on and on, and on 
and on the two men whirled. Davis was skilled at the 
trick, and on the Yukon he had put many a strong man on 
his back. But after a few minutes it was clear that he, and 
not Daylight, was going. 

For a while longer they spun around, and then Daylight 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 6l 

suddenly stood still, released his partner, and stepped back, 
reeling himself, and fluttering his hands aimlessly, as if to 
support himself against the air. But Davis, a giddy smile 
of consternation on his face, gave sideways, turned in an 
attempt to recover balance, and pitched headlong to the 
floor. Still reeling and staggering and clutching at the air 
with his hands, Daylight caught the nearest girl and started 
on in a waltz. Again he had done the big thing. Weary 
from two thousand miles over the ice and a run that day 
of seventy miles, he had whirled a fresh man down, and that 
man Ben Davis. 

Daylight loved the high places, and though few high 
places there were in his narrow experience, he had made a 
point of sitting in the highest he had ever glimpsed. The 
great world had never heard his name, but it was known 
far and wide in the vast silent North, by whites and Indians 
and Eskimos, from Bering Sea to the Passes, from the head- 
reaches of remotest rivers to the tundra shore of Point 
Barrow. Desire for mastery was strong in him, and it was 
all one whether wrestling with the elements themselves, 
with men, or with luck in a gambling game. It was all 
a game, life and its affairs. And he was a gambler to the 
core. Risk and chance were meat and drink. True, it was 
not altogether blind, for he applied wit and skill and 
strength; but behind it all was the everlasting Luck, the 
thing that at times turned on its votaries and crushed the 
wise while it blessed the fools — Luck, the thing all men 
sought and dreamed to conquer. And so he. Deep in his 
life-processes Life itself sang the siren song of its own 
majesty, ever a-whisper and urgent, counselling him that 
he could achieve more than other men, win out where they 
failed, ride to success where they perished. It was the 
urge of Life healthy and strong, unaware of frailty and 
decay, drunken with sublime complacence, ego-mad, en- 
chanted by its own mighty optimism. 



62 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

And ever in vaguest whisperings and clearest trumpet- 
calls came the message that sometime, somewhere, somehow, 
he would run Luck down, make himself the master of Luck, 
and tie it and brand it as his own. When he played poker, 
the whisper was of four aces and royal flushes. When he 
prospected, it was of gold in the grass-roots, gold on bed- 
rock, and gold all the way down. At the sharpest hazards 
of trail and river and famine, the message was that other 
men might die, but that he would pull through triumphant. 
It was the old, old lie of Life fooling itself, believing itself 
immortal and indestructible, bound to achieve over other 
lives and win to its heart's desire. 

And so, reversing at times. Daylight waltzed off his 
dizziness and led the way to the bar. But a united protest 
went up. His theory that the winner paid was no longer 
to be tolerated. It was contrary to custom and common 
sense, and while it emphasized good-fellowship, neverthe- 
less, in the name of good-fellowship it must cease. The 
drinks were rightfully on Ben Davis, and Ben Davis must 
buy them. Furthermore, all drinks and general treats that 
Daylight was guilty of ought to be paid by the house, for 
Daylight brought much custom to it whenever he made a 
night. Bettles was the spokesman, and his argument, tersely 
and offensively vernacular, was unanimously applauded. 

Daylight grinned, stepped aside to the roulette-table, and 
bought a stack of yellow chips. At the end of ten minutes 
he weighed in at the scales, and two thousand dollars in 
gold-dust was poured into his own and an extra sack. Luck, 
a mere flutter of luck, but it was his. Elation was added 
to elation. He was living, and the night was his. He 
turned upon his well-wishing critics. 

"Now the winner sure does pay," he said. 

And they surrendered. There was no withstanding 
Dayhght when he vaulted on the back of Hfe, and rode it 
bitted and spurred. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 63 

At one in the morning he saw Elijah Davis herding Henry 
Finn and Joe Hines, the lumber-jack, toward the door. 
Daylight interfered. 

"Where are you-all going?" he demanded, attempting to 
draw them to the bar. 

"Bed," Elijah Davis answered. 

He was a lean, tobacco-chewing New Englander, the one 
daring spirit in his family that had heard and answered the 
call of the West shouting through the Mount Desert back 
pastures and wood-lots. 

"Got to," Joe Hines added apologetically. "We're mush- 
ing out in the mornin'." 

Daylight still detained them. 

* Where to? What's the excitement?" 

"No excitement," Elijah explained. "We're just a-goin' 
to play your hunch, an' tackle the Upper Country. Don't 
you want to come along?" 

"I sure do," Daylight affirmed. 

But the question had been put in fun, and Elijah ignored 
the acceptance. 

"We're tackUn' the Stewart," he went on. "Al Mayo 
told me he seen some likely lookin' bars first time he come 
down the Stewart, and we're goin' to sample 'em while the 
river's froze. You Hsten, Dayhght, an' mark my words, 
the time's comin' when winter diggin's '11 be all the go. 
There'll be men in them days that'll laugh at our summer 
stratchin' an' ground-wallerin'." 

At that time, winter mining was undreamed of on the 
Yukon. From the moss and grass the land was frozen 
to bed-rock, and frozen gravel, hard as granite, defied pick 
and shovel. In the summer the men stripped the earth 
down as fast as the sun thawed it. Then was the time they 
did their mining. During the vrinter they freighted their 
provisions, went moose-hunting, got all ready for the sum- 
mer's work, and then loafed the bleak, dark months through 



64 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

in the big central camps such as Circle City and Forty 
Mile. 

"Winter diggin's sure comin'," Daylight agreed. "Wait 
till that big strike is made up river. Then you-all '11 see 
a new kind of mining. What's to prevent wood-burning, 
and sinking shafts and drifting along bed-rock? Won't need 
to timber. That frozen muck and gravel '11 stand till hell 
is froze and its mill-tails is turned to ice-cream. Why, 
they'll be working pay-streaks a hundred feet deep in them 
days that's comin'. I'm sure going along with you-all, 
Elijah." 

Elijah laughed, gathered his two partners up, and was 
making a second attempt to reach the door. 

"Hold on/' Daylight called. "I sure mean it." 

The three men turned back suddenly upon him, in their 
faces surprise, delight, and incredulity. 

"G'wan, you're foolin'," said Finn, the other lumber- 
jack, a quiet, steady, Wisconsin man. 

"There's my dawgs and sled," DayHght answered. 

"That'll make two teams and halve the loads; though 
we-all '11 have to travel easy for a spell, for them dawgs is 
sure tired." 

The three men were overjoyed, but still a trifle incredulous. 

"Now look here," Joe Hines blurted out, "none of your 
fooHn', Daylight. We mean business. Will you come?" 

Daylight extended his hand and shook. 

"Then you'd best be gettin' to bed," EHjah advised. 
"We're mushin' out at six, and four hours' sleep is none so 
long." 

"Mebbe we ought to lay over a day and let him rest up," 
Finn suggested. 

Daylight's pride was touched. 

"No you don't," he cried. "We all start at six. What 
time do you-all want to be called? Five? All right, I'll 
rouse you-all out." 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 65 

"You oughter have some sleep," Elijah counselled 
gravely. "You can't go on forever," 

Daylight was tired, profoundly tired. Even his iron 
body acknowledged weariness. Every muscle was clamor- 
ing for bed and rest, was appalled at continuance of exer- 
tion and at thought of the trail again. All this physical 
protest welled up into his brain in a wave of revolt. But 
deeper down, scornful and defiant, was Life itself, the 
essential fire of it, whispering that all Daylight's fellows 
were looking on, that now was the time to pile deed upon 
deed, to flaunt his strength in the face of strength. It was 
merely Life, whispering its ancient lies. And in league 
with it was whiskey, with all its consummate effrontery and 
vain-glory. 

"Mebbe you-all think I ain't weaned yet?" Daylight 
demanded. "Why, I ain't had a drink, or a dance, or seen 
a soul in two months. You-all get to bed. I'll call you-all 
at five." 

And for the rest of the night he danced on in his stocking 
feet, and at five in the morning, rapping thunderously on the 
door of his new partners' cabin, he could be heard singing 
the song that had given him his name: — 

"Burning daylight, you-all Stewart River hunchers! 
Burning daylight ! Burning daylight ! Burning daylight ! " 



CHAPTER VII 

This time the trail was easier. It was better packed, and 
they were not carrying mail against time. The day's run 
was shorter, and likewise the hours on trail. On his mail 
run Daylight had played out three Indians ; but his present 
partners knew that they must not be played out when they 
arrived at the Stewart bars, so they set the slower pace. 
And under this milder toil, where his companions never- 
theless grew weary, Daylight recuperated and rested up. 
At Forty Mile they laid over two days for the sake of the 
dogs, and at Sixty Mile Daylight's team was left with the 
trader. Unlike Dayhght, after the terrible run from Sel- 
kirk to Circle City, they had been unable to recuperate on 
the back trail. So the four men pulled on from Sixty Mile 
with a fresh team of dogs on Daylight's sled. 

The following night they camped in the cluster of islands 
at the mouth of the Stewart. Daylight talked town sites, 
and, though the others laughed at him, he staked the whole 
maze of high, wooded islands. 

"Just supposing the big strike does come on the Stewart," 
he argued. "Mebbe you-all '11 be in on it, and then again 
mebbe you-all won't. But I sure will. You-all 'd better 
reconsider and go in with me on it." 

But they were stubborn. 

"You're as bad as Harper and Joe Ladue," said Joe 
Hines. "They're always at that game. You know that 
big flat jest below the Klondike and under Moosehide 
Mountain? Well, the recorder at Forty Mile was tellin' 
me they staked that not a month ago — The Harper & 
Ladue Town Site. Ha! Ha! Ha!" 

66 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 67 

Elijah and Finn joined him in his laughter ; but Daylight 
was gravely in earnest. 

"There she is!" he cried. "The hunch is working! 
It's in the air, I tell you-all! What'd they-all stake the big 
flat for if they-all didn't get the hunch? Wish I'd staked 
it." 

The regret in his voice was provocative of a second burst 
of laughter. 

"Laugh, you-all! Laugh! That's what's the trouble 
with you-all. You-all think gold-hunting is the only way 
to make a stake. But let me tell you-all that when the big 
strike sure does come, you-all '11 do a little surface-scratchin' 
and muck-raking, but danged Uttle you-all '11 have to show 
for it. You-all laugh at quicksilver in the riffles and think 
flour gold was manufactured by God Almighty for the ex- 
press purpose of fooling suckers and chechaquos. Nothing 
but coarse gold for you-all, that's your way, not getting 
half of it out of the ground and losing into the tailings half 
of what you-all do get. 

"But the men that land big will be them that stake 
the town sites, organize the tradin' companies, start the 
banks—" 

Here the explosion of mirth drowned him out. Banks 
in Alaska! The idea of it was excruciating. 

"Yep, and start the stock exchanges — " 

Again they were convulsed. Joe Hines rolled over on 
his sleeping-robe, holding his sides. 

"And after them will come the big mining sharks that 
buy whole creeks where you-all have been scratching like a 
lot of picayune hens, and they-all will go to hvdraulicking 
in summer and steam-thawing in winter — " 

Steam-thawing! That was the limit. Daylight was 
certainly exceeding himself in his consummate fun-making. 
Steam-thawing — when even wood-burning was an untried 
experiment, a dream in the air! 



68 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"Laugh, dang you, laugh! Why your eyes ain't open 
yet. You-all are a bunch of little mewing kittens. I tell 
you-all if that strike comes on Klondike, Harper and Ladue 
will be millionaires. And if it comes on Stewart, you-all 
watch the Elam Harnish town site boom. In them days, 
when you-all come around makin' poor mouths . . ." He 
heaved a sigh of resignation. "Well, I suppose I'll have to 
give you-all a grub-stake or soup, or something or other." 

Daylight had vision. His scope had been rigidly limited, 
yet whatever he saw, he saw big. His mind was orderly, 
his imagination practical, and he never dreamed idly. 
When he superimposed a feverish metropolis on a waste 
of timbered, snow-covered flat, he predicated first the gold- 
strike that made the city possible, and next he had an eye 
for steamboat landings, sawmill and warehouse locations, 
and all the needs of a far-northern mining city. But this, 
in turn, was the mere setting for something bigger, namely, 
the play of temperament. Opportunities swarmed in the 
streets and buildings and human and economic relations of 
the city of his dream. It was a larger table for gambling. 
The limit was the sky, with the Southland on one side and 
the aurora borealis on the other. The play would be big, 
bigger than any Yukoner had ever imagined, and he, Burn- 
ing Daylight, would see that he got in on that play. 

In the meantime there was naught to show for it but the 
hunch. But it was coming. As he would stake his last 
ounce on a good poker hand, so he staked his life and effort 
on the hunch that the future held in store a big strike on 
the Upper River. So he and his three companions, with 
dogs, and sleds, and snowshoes, toiled up the frozen breast 
of the Stewart, toiled on and on through the white wilder- 
ness where the unending stillness was never broken by the 
voices of men, the stroke of an axe, or the distant crack of 
a rifle. They alone moved through the vast and frozen 
quiet, little mites of earth-men, crawling their score of 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 69 

miles a day, melting the ice that they might have water to 
drink, camping in the snow at night, their wolf-dogs curled 
in frost-rimed, hairy bunches, their eight snowshoes stuck 
on end in the snow beside the sleds. 

No signs of other men did they see, though once they 
passed a rude poling-boat, cached on a platform by the river 
bank. Whoever had cached it had never come back for it; 
and they wondered and mushed on. Another time they 
chanced upon the site of an Indian village, but the Indians 
had disappeared; undoubtedly they were on the higher 
reaches of the Stewart in pursuit of the moose-herds. Two 
hundred miles up from the Yukon, they came upon what 
Ehjah decided were the bars mentioned by Al Mayo. A 
permanent camp was made, their outfit of food cached on 
a high platform to keep it from the dogs, and they started 
work on the bars, cutting their way down to gravel through 
the rim of ice. 

It was a hard and simple life. Breakfast over, and 
they were at work by the first gray light; and when night 
descended, they did their cooking and camp-chores, smoked 
and yarned for a while, then rolled up in their sleeping- 
robes, and slept while the aurora borealis flamed overhead 
and the stars leaped and danced in the great cold. Their 
fare was monotonous: sour-dough bread, bacon, beans, and 
an occasional dish of rice cooked along with a handful of 
prunes. Fresh meat they failed to obtain. There was an 
unwonted absence of animal life. At rare intervals they 
chanced upon the trail of a snowshoe rabbit or an ermine; 
but in the main it seemed that all life had fled the land. 
It was a condition not unknown to them, for in all their 
experience, at one time or another, they had travelled one 
year through a region teeming with game, where, a year or 
two or three years later, no game at all would be found. 

Gold they found on the bars, but not in paying quantities. 
Ehjah. while on a hunt for moose fifty miles away, had 



70 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

panned the surface gravel of a large creek and found good 
colors. They harnessed their dogs, and with light outfits 
sledded to the place. Here, and possibly for the first time 
in the history of the Yukon, wood-burning, in sinking a 
shaft, was tried. It was Daylight's initiative. After clear- 
ing away the moss and grass, a fire of dry spruce was built. 
Six hours of burning thawed eight inches of muck. Their 
picks drove full depth into it, and, when they had shovelled 
out, another fire was started. They worked early and late, 
excited over the success of the experiment. Six feet of 
frozen muck brought them to gravel, likewise frozen. Here 
progress was slower. But they learned to handle their fires 
better, and were soon able to thaw five and six inches 
at a burning. Flour gold was in this gravel, and after two 
feet it gave away again to muck. At seventeen feet they 
struck a thin streak of gravel, and in it coarse gold, test- 
pans running as high as six and eight dollars. Unfortunately, 
this streak of gravel was not more than an inch thick. Be- 
neath it was more muck, tangled with the trunks of ancient 
trees and containing fossil bones of forgotten monsters. 
But gold they had found — coarse gold; and what more 
likely than that the big deposit would be found on bed-rock? 
Down to bed-rock they would go, if it were forty feet away. 
They divided into two shifts, working day and night, on 
two shafts, and the smoke of their burning rose continually. 

It was at this time that they ran short of beans and that 
Elijah was despatched to the main camp to bring up more 
grub. Elijah was one of the hard-bitten old-time travellers 
himself. The round trip was a hundred miles, but he prom- 
ised to be back on the third day, one day going light, two 
days returning heavy. Instead, he arrived on the night of 
the second day. They had just gone to bed when they 
heard him coming. 

"What in hell's the matter now?" Henry Finn demanded, 
as the empty sled came into the circle of firelight and as he 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 7 1 

noted that Elijah's long, serious face was longer and even 
more serious. 

Joe Hines threw wood on the fire, and the three men, 
wrapped in their robes, huddled up close to the warmth. 
Elijah's whiskered face was matted with ice, as were his 
eyebrows, so that, what of his fur garb, he looked like a 
New England caricature of Father Christmas. 

"You recollect that big spruce that held up the corner 
of the cache next to the river?" Elijah began. 

The disaster was quickly told. The big tree, with all the 
seeming of hardihood, promising to stand for centuries to 
come, had suffered from a hidden decay. In some way its 
rooted grip on the earth had weakened. The added burden 
of the cache and the winter snow had been too much for it; 
the balance it had so long maintained with the forces of 
its environment had been overthrown; it had toppled and 
crashed to the ground, wrecking the cache and, in turn, 
overthrowing the balance with environment that the four 
men and eleven dogs had been maintaining. Their supply 
of grub was gone. The wolverines had got into the wrecked 
cache, and what they had not eaten they had destroyed. 

"They plumb e't all the bacon and prunes and sugar and 
dog-food," Elijah reported, "and gosh darn my buttons, 
if they didn't gnaw open the sacks and scatter the flour 
and beans and rice from Dan to Beersheba. I found 
empty sacks where they'd dragged them a quarter of a mile 
away." 

Nobody spoke for a long minute. It was nothing less 
than a catastrophe, in the dead of an Arctic winter and in 
a game-abandoned land, to lose their grub. They were not 
panic-stricken, but they were busy looking the situation 
squarely in the face and considering. Joe Hines was the 
first to speak. 

"We can pan the snow for the beans and rice . . . 
though there wa'n't more'n eight or ten pounds of rice left." 



72 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"And somebody will have to take a team and pull for 
Sixty Mile," Daylight said next. 

"I'll go," said Finn, 

They considered a while longer. 

"But how are we going to feed the other team and three 
men till he gets back?" Hines demanded. 

"Only one thing to it," was Elijah's contribution. "You'll 
have to take the other team, Joe, and pull up the Stewart 
till you find them Indians. Then you come back with 
a load of meat. You'll get here long before Henry can 
make it from Sixty Mile, and while you're gone there '11 
only be Daylight and me to feed, and we'll feed good and 
small." 

"And in the morning we-all '11 pull for the cache and pan 
snow to find what grub we've got." Daylight lay back, 
as he spoke, and rolled in his robe to sleep, then added: 
"Better turn in for an early start. Two of you can take 
the dogs down, Elijah and me'll skin out on both sides 
and see if we-all can scare up a moose on the way down.'^ 



CHAPTER VIII 

No time was lost. Hines and Finn, with the dogs, already 
on short rations, were two days in pulling down. At noon 
of the third day Elijah arrived, reporting no moose sign. 
That night Daylight came in with a similar report. As 
fast as they arrived, the men had started careful panning 
of the snow all around the cache. It was a large task, for 
they found stray beans fully a hundred yards from the 
cache. One more day all the men toiled. The result was 
pitiful, and the four showed their caliber in the division of 
the few pounds of food that had been recovered. 

Little as it was, the lion's share was left with Daylight 
and Elijah. The men who pulled on with the dogs, one up 
the Stewart and one down, would come more quickly to 
grub. The two who remained would have to last out till 
the others returned. Furthermore, while the dogs, on 
several ounces each of beans a day, would travel slowly, 
nevertheless, the men who travelled with them, on a pinch, 
would have the dogs themselves to eat. But the men who 
remained, when the pinch came, would have no dogs. It 
was for this reason that Daylight and Elijah took the more 
desperate chance. They could not do less, nor did they 
care to do less. The days passed, and the winter began 
merging imperceptibly into the Northland spring that comes 
like a thunderbolt of suddenness. It was the spring of 
1896 that was preparing. Each day the sun rose farther 
east of south, remained longer in the sky, and set farther 
to the west. March ended and April began, and Daylight 
and Elijah, lean and hungry, wondered what had become 
of their two comrades. Granting every delay, and throwing 

73 



74 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

in generous margins for good measure, the time was long 
since past when they should have returned. Without 
doubt they had met with disaster. The party had con- 
sidered the possibility of disaster for one man, and that had 
been the principal reason for despatching the two in differ- 
ent directions. But that disaster should have come to both 
of them was the final blow. 

In the meantime, hoping against hope. Daylight and 
Elijah eked out a meagre existence. The thaw had not 
yet begun, so they were able to gather the snow about the 
ruined cache and melt it in pots and pails and gold pans. 
Allowed to stand for a while, when poured off, a thin deposit 
of slime was found on the bottoms of the vessels. This was 
the flour, the infinitesimal trace of it scattered through 
thousands of cubic yards of snow. Also, in this slime oc- 
curred at intervals a water-soaked tea-leaf or coffee-ground, 
and there were in it fragments of earth and litter. But the 
farther they worked away from the site of the cache the 
thinner became the trace of flour, the smaller the deposit 
of slime. 

Elijah was the older man, and he weakened first, so that 
he came to He up most of the time in his furs. An occasional 
tree-squirrel kept them alive. This hunting fell upon Day- 
light, and it was hard work. With but thirty rounds of 
ammunition he dared not risk a miss; and, since his rifle 
was a 45-90, he was compelled to shoot the small creatures 
through the head. There were very few of them, and days 
went by without seeing one. When he did see one, he took 
infinite precautions. He would stalk it for hours. A score 
of times, with arms that shook from weakness, he would 
draw a sight on the animal and refrain from pulling the 
trigger. His inhibition was a thing of iron. He was the 
master. Not till absolute certitude was his did he shoot. 
No matter how sharp the pangs of hunger and desire for 
that palpitating morsel of chattering hfe, he refused to 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 75 

take the slightest risk of a miss. He, born gambler that 
he was, was gambling in the bigger way. His life was the 
stake, his cards were the cartridges, and he played as only a 
big gambler could play, with infinite care, with infinite pre- 
caution, with infinite consideration. As a result, he never 
missed. Each shot meant a squirrel, and though days 
elapsed between shots, it never changed his method of play. 

Of the squirrels nothing was lost. Even the skins were 
boiled to make broth, the bones pounded into fragments 
that could be chewed and swallowed. Daylight prospected 
through the snow, and found occasional patches of moss- 
berries. At the best, mossberries were composed practi- 
cally of seeds and water, with a tough rind of skin about^ 
them; but the berries he found were of the preceding year, 
dry and shrivelled, and the nourishment they contained 
verged on the minus quantity. Scarcely better was the 
bark of young saplings, stewed for an hour and swallowed, 
after prodigious chewing. 

April drew toward its close, and spring smote the land. 
The days stretched out their length. Under the heat of the 
sun the snow began to melt, while from down under the 
snow arose the trickling of tiny streams. For twenty-four 
hours the Chinook wind blew, and in that twenty-four hours 
the snow was diminished fully a foot in depth. In the late 
afternoons the melting snow froze again, so that its surface 
became ice capable of supporting a man's weight. Tiny 
white snow-birds appeared from the south, lingered a day, 
and resumed their journey into the north. Once, high 
in the air, looking for open water and ahead of the season, 
a wedged squadron of wild geese honked northward. And 
down by the river bank a clump of dwarf willows burst 
into bud. These young buds, stewed, seemed to possess 
an encouraging nutrition. Elijah took heart of hope, 
though he was cast down again when Daylight failed to 
find another clump of willows. 



76 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

The sap was rising in the trees, and daily the trickle of 
unseen streamlets became louder as the frozen land came 
back to life. But the river held in its bonds of frost. 
Winter had been long months in riveting them, and not in 
a day were they to be broken, not even by the thunderbolt 
of spring. May came, and stray last-year's mosquitoes, 
full-grown but harmless, crawled out of rock crevices and 
rotten logs. Crickets began to chirp, and more geese and 
ducks flew overhead. And still the river held. By May 
tenth, the ice of the Stewart, with a great rending and snap- 
ping, tore loose from the banks and rose three feet. But it 
did not go down-stream. The lower Yukon, up to where 
the Stewart flowed into it, must first break and move on. 
Until then the ice of the Stewart could only rise higher and 
higher on the increasing flood beneath. When the Yukon 
would break was problematical. Two thousand miles away 
it flowed into Bering Sea, and it was the ice conditions of 
Bering Sea that would determine when the Yukon could 
rid itself of the milHons of tons of ice that cluttered its 
breast. 

On the twelfth of May, carrying their sleeping-robes, a 
pail, an axe, and the precious rifle, the two men started 
down the river on the ice. Their plan was to gain to the 
cached poling-boat they had seen, so that at the first open 
water they could launch it and drift with the stream to 
Sixty Mile. In their weak condition, without food, the 
going was slow and difficult. Elijah developed a habit of 
falling down and being unable to rise. Dayhght gave of 
bis own strength to lift him to his feet, whereupon the older 
man would stagger automatically on until he stumbled and 
fell again. 

On the day they should have reached the boat, Elijah 
collapsed utterly. When Daylight raised him, he fell again. 
Daylight essayed to walk with him, supporting him, but 
such was Daylight's own weakness that they fell together. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 77 

Dragging Elijah to the bank, a rude camp was made, and 
Daylight started out in search of squirrels. It was at this 
time that he likewise developed the falling habit. In the 
evening he found his first squirrel, but darkness came on 
without his getting a certain shot. With primitive patience 
he waited till next day, and then, within the hour, the 
squirrel was his. 

The major portion he fed to Elijah, reserving for himself 
the tougher parts and the bones. But such is the chemistry 
of life, that this small creature, this trifle of meat that 
moved, by being eaten, transmuted to the meat of the men 
the same power to move. No longer did the squirrel run up 
spruce trees, leap from branch to branch, or cling chatter- 
ing to giddy perches. Instead, the same energy that had 
done these things flowed into the wasted muscles and 
reeling wills of the men, making them move — nay, moving 
them — till they tottered the several intervening miles to 
the cached boat, underneath which they fell together and 
lay motionless a long time. 

Light as the task would have been for a strong man to 
lower the small boat to the ground, it took Daylight hours. 
And many hours more, day by day, he dragged himself 
around it, lying on his side to calk the gaping seams with 
moss. Yet, when this was done, the river still held. Its 
ice had risen many feet, but would not start down-stream. 
And one more task waited, the launching of the boat when 
the river ran water to receive it. Vainly Daylight staggered 
and stumbled and fell and crept through the snow that was 
wet with thaw, or across it when the night's frost still 
crusted it beyond the weight of a man, searching for one 
more squirrel, striving to achieve one more transmutation of 
furry leap and scolding chatter into the lifts and tugs of a 
man's body that would hoist the boat over the rim of shore- 
ice and slide it down into the stream. 

Not till the twentieth of May did the river break. The 



78 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

down-stream movement began at five in the morning, and 
already were the days so long that Daylight sat up and 
watched the ice-run. EHjah was too far gone to be inter- 
ested in the spectacle. Though vaguely conscious, he lay 
without movement while the ice tore by, great cakes of it 
caroming against the bank, uprooting trees, and gouging out 
earth by hundreds of tons. All about them the land shook 
and reeled from the shock of these tremendous colhsions. 
At the end of an hour the run stopped. Somewhere below 
it was blocked by a jam. Then the river began to rise, 
lifting the ice on its breast till it was higher than the bank. 
From behind ever more water bore down, and ever more 
millions of tons of ice added their weight to the congestion. 
The pressures and stresses became terrific. Huge cakes of 
ice were squeezed out till they popped into the air like 
melon seeds squeezed from between the thumb and fore- 
finger of a child, while all along the banks a wall of ice was 
forced up. When the jam broke, the noise of grinding 
and smashing redoubled. For another hour the run con- 
tinued. The river fell rapidly. But the wall of ice on top 
the bank, and extending down into the falling water, re- 
mained. 

The tail of the ice-run passed, and for the first time in 
six months Daylight saw open water. He knew that the 
ice had not yet passed out from the upper reaches of the 
Stewart, that it lay in packs and jams in those upper reaches, 
and that it might break loose and come down in a second 
run any time; but the need was too desperate for him to 
linger. EHjah was so far gone that he might pass at any 
moment. As for himself, he was not sure that enough 
strength remained in his wasted muscles to launch the 
boat. It was all a gamble. If he waited for the second 
ice-run, Elijah would surely die, and most probably himself. 
If he succeeded in launching the boat, if he kept ahead of 
the second ice-run, if he did not get caught by some of the 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 79 

runs from the upper Yukon; if luck favored in all these 
essential particulars, as well as in a score of minor ones, 
they would reach Sixty Mile and be saved, if — and again 
the if — he had strength enough to land the boat at Sixty 
Mile and not go by. 

He set to work. The wall of ice was five feet above the 
ground on which the boat rested. First prospecting for the 
best launching-place, he found where a huge cake of ice 
shelved upward from the river that ran fifteen feet below 
to the top of the wall. This was a score of feet away, and at 
the end of an hour he had managed to get the boat that far. 
He was sick with nausea from his exertions, and at times it 
seemed that blindness smote him, for he could not see, his 
eyes vexed with spots and points of light that were as ex- 
cruciating as diamond-dust, his heart pounding up in his 
throat and suffocating him. Elijah betrayed no interest, 
did not move nor open his eyes; and Daylight fought out 
his battle alone. At last, falling on his knees from the 
shock of exertion, he got the boat poised on a secure balance 
on top the wall. Crawling on hands and knees, he placed 
in the boat his rabbit-skin robe, the rifle, and the pail. He 
did not bother with the axe. It meant an additional crawl 
of twenty feet and back, and if the need for it should arise 
he well knew he would be past all need. 

Elijah proved a bigger task than he had anticipated. A 
few inches at a time, resting in between, he dragged him 
over the ground and up a broken rubble of ice to the side of 
the boat. But into the boat he could not get him. Elijah's 
limp body was far more difficult to lift and handle than an 
equal weight of like dimensions but rigid. Daylight failed 
to hoist him, for the body collapsed at the middle like a 
part-empty sack of corn. Getting into the boat, Daylight 
tried vainly to drag his comrade in after him. The best he 
could do was to get Elijah's head and shoulders on top the 
gunwale. When he released his hold, to heave from far- 



8o BURNING DAYLIGHT 

ther down the body, Elijah promptly gave at the middle 
and came down on the ice. 

In despair, Daylight changed his tactics. He struck the 
other in the face. 

"God Almighty, ain't you-all a man?" he cried. "There! 
damn you-all ! there ! " 

At each curse he struck him on the cheeks, the nose, the 
mouth, striving, by the shock of the hurt, to bring back the 
sinking soul and far-wandering will of the man. The eyes 
fluttered open. 

"Now listen!" he shouted hoarsely. "When I get your 
head to the gunwale, hang on! Hear me? Hang on! 
Bite into it with your teeth, but hang on!" 

The eyes fluttered down, but Daylight knew the mes- 
sage had been received. Again he got the helpless man's 
head and shoulders on the gunwale. 

"Hang on, damn you! Bite in!" he shouted, as he 
shifted his grip lower down. 

One weak hand slipped off the gunwale, the fingers of 
the other hand relaxed, but Elijah obeyed, and his teeth 
held on. When the lift came, his face ground forward, and 
the splintery wood tore and crushed the skin from nose, 
lips, and chin ; and, face downward, he slipped on and down 
to the bottom of the boat till his limp middle collapsed 
across the gunwale and his legs hung down outside. But 
they were only his legs, and Daylight shoved them in after 
him. Breathing heavily, he turned Elijah over on his 
back, and covered him with his robes. 

The final task remained — the launching of the boat. 
This, of necessity, was the severest of all, for he had been 
compelled to load his comrade in aft of the balance. It 
meant a supreme effort at lifting. Daylight steeled him- 
self and began. Something must have snapped, for, though 
he was unaware of it, the next he knew he was lying doubled 
on his stomach across the sharp stern of the boat. Evi- 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 8 1 

dently, and for the first time in his life, he had fainted. 
Furthermore, it seemed to him that he was finished, that he 
had not one more movement left in him, and that, strangest 
of all, he did not care. Visions came to him, clear-cut and 
real, and concepts sharp as steel cutting-edges. He, who 
all his days had looked on naked Life, had never seen so 
much of Life's nakedness before. For the first time he ex- 
perienced a doubt of his own glorious personality. For the 
moment Life faltered and forgot to lie. After all, he was a 
little earth-maggot, just like all the other earth-maggots, like 
the squirrel he had eaten, like the other men he had seen 
fail and die, like Joe Hines and Henry Finn, who had already 
failed and were surely dead, like Elijah lying there uncaring, 
with his skinned face, in the bottom of the boat. Daylight's 
position was such that from where he lay he could look up 
river to the bend, around which, sooner or later, the next 
ice-run would come. And as he looked he seemed to see 
back through the past to a time when neither white man nor 
Indian was in the land, and ever he saw the same Stewart 
River, winter upon winter, breasted with ice, and spring 
upon spring bursting that ice asunder and running free. 
And he saw also into an illimitable future, when the last 
generations of men were gone from off the face of Alaska, 
when he, too, would be gone, and he saw, ever remaining, 
that river, freezing and fresheting, and running on and on. 
Life was a liar and a cheat. It fooled all creatures. It 
had fooled him. Burning Daylight, one of its chiefest and 
most joyous exponents. He was nothing — a mere bunch 
of flesh and nerves and sensitiveness that crawled in the 
muck for gold, that dreamed and aspired and gambled, 
and that passed and was gone. Only the dead things re- 
mained, the things that were not flesh and nerves and 
sensitiveness, the sand and muck and gravel, the stretch- 
ing flats, the mountains, the river itself, freezing and break- 
ing, year by year, down all the years. When all was said 



82 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

and done, it was a scurvy game. The dice were loaded. 
Those that died did not win, and all died. Who won? 
Not even Life, the stool-pigeon, the arch-capper for the 
game — Life, the ever flourishing graveyard, the everlasting 
funeral procession. 

He drifted back to the immediate present for a moment 
and noted that the river still ran wide open, and that a 
moose-bird, perched on the bow of the boat, was surveying 
him impudently. Then he drifted dreamily back to his 
meditations. 

There was no escaping the end of the game. He was 
doomed surely to be out of it all. ^\nd what of it? He 
pondered that question again and again. 

Conventional religion had passed Daylight by. He had 
lived a sort of religion in his square dealing and right play- 
ing with other men, and he had not indulged in vain meta- 
physics about future life. Death ended all. He had always 
believed that, and been unafraid. And at this moment, 
the boat fifteen feet above the water and immovable, him- 
self fainting with weakness and without a particle of 
strength left in him, he still believed that death ended all, 
and he was still unafraid. His views were too simply and 
solidly based to be overthrown by the first squirm, or the 
last, of death-fearing life. 

He had seen men and animals die, and into the field of his 
vision, by scores, came such deaths. He saw them over 
again, just as he had seen them at the time, and they did not 
shake him. What of it? They were dead, and dead long 
since. They weren't bothering about it. They weren't 
lying on their bellies across a boat and waiting to die. 
Death was easy — easier than he had ever imagined; and, 
now that it was near, the thought of it made him glad. 

A new vision came to him. He saw the feverish city of 
his dream — the gold metropolis of the North, perched 
above the Yukon on a high earth-bank and far-spreading 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 83 

across the flat. He saw the river steamers tied to the bank 
and lined against it three deep; he saw the sawmills work- 
ing and the long dog-teams, with double sleds behind, 
freighting supplies to the diggings. And he saw, further, 
the gambling-houses, banks, stock-exchanges, and all the 
gear and chips and markers, the chances and opportunities, 
of a vastly bigger gambling game than any he had ever seen. 
It was sure hell, he thought, with the hunch a-working and 
that big strike coming, to be out of it all. Life thrilled and 
stirred at the thought and once more began uttering his 
ancient lies. 

Daylight rolled over and off the boat, leaning against it 
as he sat on the ice. He wanted to be in on that strike. 
And why shouldn't he? Somewhere in all those wasted 
muscles of his was enough strength, if he could gather it 
all at once, to up-end the boat and launch it. Quite irrele- 
vantly the idea suggested itself of buying a share in the 
Klondike town site from Harper and Joe Ladue. They 
would surely sell a third interest cheap. Then, if the strike 
came on the Stewart, he would be well in on it with the 
Elam Harnish town site; if on the Klondike, he would 
not be quite out of it. 

In the meantime, he would gather strength. He stretched 
out on the ice full length, face downward, and for half an 
hour he lay and rested. Then he arose, shook the flashing 
blindness from his eyes, and took hold of the boat. He 
knew his condition accurately. If the first effort failed, 
the following efforts were doomed to fail. He must pull 
all his rallied strength into the one effort, and so thor- 
oughly must he put all of it in that there would be none left 
for other attempts. 

He lifted, and he lifted with the soul of him as well as 
with the body, consuming himself, body and spirit, in the 
effort. The boat rose. He thought he was going to 
faint, but he continued to lift. He felt the boat give, as it 



84 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

started on its downward slide. With the last shred of his 
strength he precipitated himself into it, landing in a sick 
heap on Elijah's legs. He was beyond attempting to rise, 
and as he lay he heard and felt the boat take the water. 
By watching the tree-tops he knew it was whirling. A 
smashing shock and flying fragments of ice told him that it 
had struck the bank. A dozen times it whirled and struck, 
and then it floated easily and free. 

Daylight came to, and decided he had been asleep. The 
sun denoted that several hours had passed. It was early 
afternoon. He dragged himself into the stern and sat up. 
The boat was in the middle of the stream. The wooded 
banks, with their base-hnes of flashing ice, were slipping by. 
Near him floated a huge, uprooted pine. A freak of the 
current brought the boat against it. Crawling forward, he 
fastened the painter to a root. The tree, deeper in the 
water, was travelling faster, and the painter tautened as the 
boat took the tow. Then, with a last giddy look around, 
wherein he saw the banks tilting and swaying and the 
sun swinging in pendulum-sweep across the sky. Daylight 
wrapped himself in his rabbit-skin robe, lay down in the 
bottom, and fell asleep. 

When he awoke, it was dark night. He was lying on his 
back, and he could see the stars shining. A subdued 
murmur of swollen waters could be heard. A sharp jerk 
informed him that the boat, swerving slack into the painter, 
had been straightened out by the swifter-moving pine tree. 
A piece of stray drift-ice thumped against the boat and 
grated along its side. Well, the following jam hadn't 
caught him yet, was his thought, as he closed his eyes and 
slept again. 

It was bright day when next he opened his eyes. The 
sun showed it to be midday. A glance around at the far- 
away banks, and he knew that he was on the mighty Yukon. 
Sixty Mile could not be far away. He was abominably 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 85 

weak. His movements were slow, fumbling, and inaccu- 
rate, accompanied by panting and head-swimming, as he 
dragged himself into a sitting-up position in the stern, his 
rifle beside him. He looked a long time at Elijah, but could 
not see whether he breathed or not, and he was too immeas- 
urably far away to make an investigation. 

He fell to dreaming and meditating again, dreams and 
thoughts being often broken by stretches of blankness, 
wherein he neither slept, nor was unconscious, nor was 
aware of anything. It seemed to him more like cogs slip- 
ping in his brain. And in this intermittent way he reviewed 
the situation. He was still alive, and most likely would be 
saved, but how came it that he was not lying dead across 
the boat on top the ice-rim? Then he recollected the great 
final effort he had made. But why had he made it? he 
asked himself. It had not been fear of death. He had 
not been afraid, that was sure. Then he remembered the 
hunch and the big strike he believed was coming, and he 
knew that the spur had been his desire to sit in for a hand 
at that big game. And again why? What if he made his 
million? He would die, just the same as those that never 
won more than grub-stakes. Then again why? But the 
blank stretches in his thinking process began to come more 
frequently, and he surrendered to the delightful lassitude 
that was creeping over him. 

He roused with a start. Something had whispered in 
him that he must awake. Abruptly he saw Sixty Mile, 
not a hundred feet away. The current had brought him to 
the very door. But the same current was now sweeping 
him past and on into the down-river wilderness. No one 
was in sight. The place might have been deserted, save 
for the smoke he saw rising from the kitchen chimney. He 
tried to call, but found he had no voice left. An unearthly 
guttural hiss alternately rattled and wheezed in his throat. 
He fumbled for the rifle, got it to his shoulder, and pulled 



86 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

the trigger. The recoil of the discharge tore through his 
frame, racking it with a thousand agonies. The rifle had 
fallen across his knees, and an attempt to lift it to his shoul- 
der failed. He knew he must be quick, and felt that he was 
fainting, so he pulled the trigger of the gun where it lay. 
This time it kicked off and overboard. But just before 
darkness rushed over him, he saw the kitchen door open, 
and a woman look out of the big log house that was dancing 
a monstrous jig among the trees. 



CHAPTER IX 

Ten days later, Harper and Joe Ladue arrived at Sixty 
Mile, and Daylight, still a trifle weak, but strong enough 
to obey the hunch that had come to him, traded a third 
interest in his Stewart town site for a third interest in theirs 
on the Klondike. They had faith in the Upper Country, 
and Harper left down-stream, with a raft-load of supplies, 
to start a small post at the mouth of the Klondike. 

"Why don't you tackle Indian River, Daylight?" Har- 
per advised, at parting. "There's whole slathers of creeks 
and draws draining in up there, and somewhere gold just 
cr3dng to be found. That's my hunch. There's a big 
strike coming, and Indian River ain't going to be a million 
miles away." 

"And the place is swarming with moose," Joe Ladue 
added. "Bob Henderson's up there somewhere, been there 
three years now, swearing something big is going to hap- 
pen, living off'n straight moose and prospecting around like 
a crazy man." 

Daylight decided to go Indian River a flutter, as he 
expressed it; but Elijah could not be persuaded into ac- 
companying him. Elijah's soul had been seared by famine, 
and he was obsessed by fear of repeating the experience. 

"I jest can't bear to separate from grub," he explained. 
"I know it's downright foolishness, but I jest can't help 
it. It's all I can do to tear myself away from the table 
when I know I'm full to bustin' and ain't got storage for 
another bite. I'm going back to Circle to camp by a cache 
until I get cured." 

Daylight lingered a few days longer, gathering strength 

87 



88 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

and arranging his meagre outfit. He planned to go in light, 
carrying a pack of seventy-five pounds and making his five 
dogs pack as well, Indian fashion, loading them with thirty 
pounds each. Depending on the report of Ladue, he in- 
tended to follow Bob Henderson's example and live prac- 
tically on straight meat. When Jack Kearns' scow, laden 
with the sawmill from Lake Linderman, tied up at Sixty 
Mile, Daylight bundled his outfit and dogs on board, turned 
his town-site application over to Elijah to be filed, and the 
same day was landed at the mouth of Indian River. 

Forty miles up the river, at what had been described to 
him as Quartz Creek, he came upon signs of Bob Hender- 
son's work, and also at Australia Creek, thirty miles farther 
on. The weeks came and went, but Daylight never encoun- 
tered the other man. However, he found moose plentiful, 
and he and his dogs prospered on the meat diet. He found 
"pay" that was no more than "wages" on a dozen surface 
bars, and from the generous spread of flour gold in the 
muck and gravel of a score of creeks, he was more confi- 
dent than ever that coarse gold in quantity was waiting to 
be unearthed. Often he turned his eyes to the northward 
ridge of hills, and pondered if the gold came from them. 
In the end, he ascended Dominion Creek to its head, crossed 
the divide, and came down on the tributary to the Klon- 
dike that was later to be called Hunker Creek. While on 
the divide, had he kept the big dome on his right, he would 
have come down on the Gold Bottom, so named by Bob 
Henderson, whom he would have found at work on it, tak- 
ing out the first pay-gold ever panned on the Klondike. 
Instead, Daylight continued down Hunker to the Klondike, 
and on to the summer fishing camp of the Indians on the 
Yukon. 

Here for a day he camped with Carmack, a squaw-man, 
and his Indian brother-in-law, Skookum Jim, bought a 
boat, and, with his dogs on board, drifted down the Yukon 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 89 

to Forty Mile. August was drawing to a close, the days 
were growing shorter, and winter was coming on. Still 
with unbounded faith in his hunch that a strike was coming 
in the Upper Country, his plan was to get together a party 
of four or five, and, if that was impossible, at least a part- 
ner, and to pole back up the river before the freeze-up to do 
winter prospecting. But the men of Forty Mile were with- 
out faith. The diggings to the westward were good enough 
for them. 

Then it was that Carmack, his brother-in-law, Skookum 
Jim, and Cultus Charlie, another Indian, arrived in a canoe 
at Forty Mile, went straight to the gold commissioner, and 
recorded three claims and a discovery claim on Bonanza 
Creek. After that, in the Sourdough Saloon, that night, 
they exhibited coarse gold to the sceptical crowd. Men 
grinned and shook their heads. They had seen the motions 
of a gold strike gone through before. This was too patently 
a scheme of Harper's and Joe Ladue's, trying to entice pros- 
pecting in the vicinity of their town site and trading post. 
And who was Carm.ack? A squaw-man. And who ever 
heard of a squaw-man striking anything? And what was 
Bonanza Creek? Merely a moose pasture, entering the 
Klondike just above its mouth, and known to old-timers as 
Rabbit Creek. Now if Daylight or Bob Henderson had 
recorded claims and shown coarse gold, they'd kno^vn there 
was something in it. But Carmack, the squaw-man ! And 
Skookum Jim! And Cultus Charlie! No, no; that was 
asking too much. 

Daylight, too, was sceptical, and this despite his faith 
in the Upper Country. Had he not, only a few days before, 
seen Carmack loafing with his Indians and with never a 
thought of prospecting? But at eleven that night, sitting 
on the edge of his bunk and unlacing his moccasins, a 
thought came to him. He put on his coat and hat and went 
back to the Sourdough. Carmack was still there, flashing 



QO BURNING DAYLIGHT 

his coarse gold in the eyes of an unbelieving generation. 
Daylight ranged alongside of him and emptied Carmack's 
sack into a blower. This he studied for a long time. Then, 
from his own sack, into another blower, he emptied several 
ounces of Circle City and Forty Mile gold. Again, for a long 
time, he studied and compared. Finally, he pocketed his own 
gold, returned Carmack's, and held up his hand for silence. 

"Boys, I want to tell you-all something," he said. "She's 
sure come — the up-river strike. And I tell you-all, clear 
and forcible, this is it. There ain't never been gold like 
that in a blower in this country before. It's new gold. 
It's got more silver in it. You-all can see it by the color. 
Carmack's sure made a strike. Who-all's got faith to come 
along with me?" 

There were no volunteers. Instead, laughter and jeers 
went up. 

"Mebbe you got a town site up there," some one suggested. 

"I sure have," was the retort, "and a third interest in 
Harper and Ladue's. And I can see my corner lots selling 
out for more than your hen-scratching ever turned up on 
Birch Creek." 

"That's all right. Daylight," one Curly Parson inter- 
posed soothingly. "You've got a reputation, and we know 
you're dead sure on the square. But you're as likely as any 
to be mistook on a flimflam game, such as these loafers is 
putting up. I ask you straight: When did Carmack do this 
here prospecting? You said yourself he was lying in camp, 
fishing salmon along with his Siwash relations, and that was 
only the other day." 

"And Daylight told the truth," Carmack interrupted 
excitedly. "And I'm telling the truth, the gospel truth. 
I wasn't prospecting. Hadn't no idea of it. But when 
Daylight pulls out, the very same day, who drifts in, down 
river, on a raft-load of supplies, but Bob Henderson. He'd 
come out to Sixty Mile, planning to go back up Indian 



BURNING DAYLIGHT QI 

River and portage the grub across the divide between 
Quartz Creek and Gold Bottom — " 

"Where in hell's Gold Bottom?" Curly Parsons de- 
manded. 

''Over beyond Bonanza that was Rabbit Creek," the 
squaw-man went on. "It's a draw of a big creek that runs 
into the Klondike. That's the way I went up, but I come 
back by crossing the divide, keeping along the crest several 
miles, and dropping down into Bonanza. 'Come along with 
me, Carmack, and get staked,' says Bob Henderson to me. 
'I've hit it this time, on Gold Bottom. I've took out forty- 
five ounces a'ready.' And I went along, Skookum Jim and 
Cultus Charlie, too. And we all staked on Gold Bottom. 
I come back by Bonanza on the chance of finding a moose. 
Along down Bonanza we stopped and cooked grub. I went 
to sleep, and what does Skookum Jim do but try his hand at 
prospecting. He'd been watching Henderson, you see. He 
goes right slap up to the foot of a birch tree, first pan, fills 
it with dirt, and washes out more'n a dollar coarse gold. 
Then he wakes me up, and I goes at it. I got two and a half 
the first lick. Then I named the creek 'Bonanza,' staked 
Discovery, and we come here and recorded." 

He looked about him anxiously for signs of belief, but 
found himself in a^ circle of incredulous faces — all save 
Daylight, who had studied his countenance while he told 
his story. 

"How much is Harper and Ladue givin' you for manu- 
facturing a stampede?" some one asked. 

"They don't know nothing about it," Carmack answered. 
"I tell you it's the God Almighty's truth. I washed out 
three ounces in an hour." 

"And there's the gold," Daylight said. "I tell you-all 
boys they ain't never been gold like that in the blower 
before. Look at the color of it." 

"A trifle darker," Curly Parson said. "Most likely 



92 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Carmack's been carrying a couple of silver dollars along in 
the same sack. And what's more, if there's anything in it, 
why ain't Bob Henderson smoking along to record?" 

''He's up on Gold Bottom," Carmack explained. "We 
made the strike coming back." 

A burst of laughter was his reward. 

'"'Who-all '11 go pardners with me and pull out in a poling- 
boat to-morrow for this here Bonanza?" Daylight asked. 

No one volunteered. 

"Then who-all '11 take a job from me, cash wages in ad- 
vance, to pole up a thousand pounds of grub?" 

Curly Parsons and another, Pat Monahan, accepted, and, 
with his customary speed. Daylight paid them their wages 
in advance and arranged the purchase of the supplies, 
though he emptied his sack in doing so. He was leaving 
the Sourdough, when he suddenly turned back to the bar 
from the door. 

"Got another hunch?" was the query. 

"I sure have," he answered. "Flour's sure going to be 
worth what a man will pay for it this winter up on the 
Klondike. Who'll lend me some money?" 

On the instant a score of the men who had declined to 
accompany him on the wild-goose chase were crowding 
about him with proffered gold-sacks. 

"How much flour do you want?" asked the Alaska Com- 
mercial Company's storekeeper. 

"About two ton." 

The proffered gold-sacks were not withdrawn, though 
their owners were guilty of an outrageous burst of merri- 
ment. 

"What are you going to do with two tons?" the store- 
keeper demanded. 

"Son," Dayhght made reply, "you-all ain't been in this 
country long enough to know all its curves. I'm going to 
start a sauerkraut factory and combined dandruff remedy.'* 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 93 

He borrowed money right and left, engaging and paying 
six other men to bring up the flour in half as many more 
poling-boats. Again his sack was empty, and he was 
heavily in debt. 

Curly Parsons bowed his head on the bar with a gesture 
of despair. 

"What gets me," he moaned, "is what you're going to do 
with it all." 

"I'll tell you-all in simple A, B, C and one, two, three." 
Daylight held up one finger and began checking off. 
"Hunch number one: a big strike coming in Upper Country. 
Hunch number two: Carmack's made it. Hunch number 
three: ain't no hunch at all. It's a cinch. If one and two 
is right, then flour just has to go sky-high. If I'm riding 
hunches one and two, I just got to ride this cinch, which is 
number three. If I'm right, flour '11 balance gold on the 
scales this winter. I tell you-all boys, when you-all got a 
hunch, play it for all it's worth. What's luck good for, if 
you-all ain't to ride it? And when you-all ride it, ride like 
hell. I've been years in this country, just waiting for the 
right hunch to come along. And here she is. Well, I'm 
going to play her, that's all. Good night, you-all; good! 
night." 



CHAPTER X 

Still men were without faith in the strike. When Day- 
light, with his heavy outfit of flour, arrived at the mouth of 
the Klondike, he found the big flat as desolate and tenant- 
less as ever. Down close by the river, Chief Isaac and his 
Indians were camped beside the frames on which they were 
drying salmon. Several old-timers were also in camp there. 
Having finished their summer work on Ten Mile Creek, 
they had come down the Yukon, bound for Circle City. 
But at Sixty Mile they had learned of the strike, and 
stopped off to look over the ground. They had just returned 
to their boat when Daylight landed his flour, and their 
report was pessimistic. 

"Damned moose-pasture," quoth one, Long Jim Harney, 
pausing to blow into his tin mug of tea. "Don't you have 
nothin' to do with it, Daylight. It's a blamed rotten sell. 
They're just going through the motions of a strike. Harper 
and Ladue's behind it, and Carmack's the stool-pigeon. 
Whoever heard of mining a moose-pasture half a mile be- 
tween rim-rock and God alone knows how far to bed-rock!" 

Dayhght nodded sympathetically, and considered for a 
space. 

"Did you-all pan any?" he asked finally. 

"Pan hell!" was the indignant answer. "Think I was 
born yesterday! Only a chechaquo 'd fool around that 
pasture long enough to fill a pan of dirt. You don't catch 
me at any such foolishness. One look was enough for me. 
We're pulling on in the morning for Circle City. I ain't 
never had faith in this Upper Country. Head-reaches of 
the Tanana is good enough for me from now on, and mark 

94 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 95 

my words, when the big strike comes, she'll come down 
river. Johnny, here, staked a couple of miles below Dis- 
covery, but he don't know no better." 

Johnny looked shamefaced. 

"I just did it for fun," he explained. "I'd give my 
chance in the creek for a pound of Star plug." 

"I'll go you," Daylight said promptly. "But don't you- 
all come squealing if I take twenty or thirty thousand out 
of it." 

Johnny grinned cheerfully. 

"Gimme the tobacco," he said. 

"Wish I'd staked alongside," Long Jim murmured plain- 
tively. 

"It ain't too late," Daylight replied. 

"But it's a twenty-mile walk there and back." 

"I'll stake it for you to-morrow when I go up," Daylight 
offered. "Then you do the same as Johnny. Get the fees 
from Tim Logan. He's tending bar in the Sourdough, and 
he'll lend it to me. Then fill in your own name, transfer 
to me, and turn the papers over to Tim." 

"Me, too," chimed in the third old-timer. 

And for three pounds of Star plug chewing tobacco, Day- 
light bought outright three five-hundred-foot claims on 
Bonanza. He could still stake another claim in his own 
name, the others being merely transfers. 

"Must say you're almighty brash with your chewin' 
tobacco," Long Jim grinned. "Got a factory somewheres?" 

"Nope, but I got a hunch," was the retort, "and I tell 
you-all it's cheaper than dirt to ride her at the rate of three 
plugs for three claims." 

But an hour later, at his own camp, Joe Ladue strode in, 
fresh from Bonanza Creek. At first, non-committal over 
Carmack's strike, then, later, dubious, he finally offered 
Daylight a hundred dollars for his share in the town site. 

"Cash?" Daylight queried. 



96 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"Sure. There she is." 

So saying, Ladue pulled out his gold-sack. Daylight 
hefted it absent-mindedly, and, still absent-mindedly, un- 
tied the strings and ran some of the gold-dust out on his 
palm. It showed darker than any dust he had ever seen, 
with the exception of Carmack's. He ran the gold back, 
tied the mouth of the sack, and returned it to Ladue. 

"I guess you-all need it more'n I do," was Dayhght's 
comment. 

"Nope; got plenty more," the other assured him. 

"Where that come from?" 

Daylight was all innocence as he asked the question, and 
Ladue received the question as stolidly as an Indian. Yet 
for a swift instant they looked into each other's eyes, and 
in that instant an intangible something seemed to flash out 
from all the body and spirit of Joe Ladue. And it seemed 
to Daylight that he had caught this flash, sensed a secret 
something in the knowledge and plans behind the other's 
eyes. 

"You-all know the creek better'n me," Dayhght went on. 
"And if my share in the town site's worth a hundred to you- 
all with what you-all know, it's worth a hundred to me 
whether I know it or not." 

"I'll give you three hundred," Ladue offered desperately, 

"Still the same reasoning. No matter what I don't know, 
it's worth to me whatever you-all are willing to pay for 
it." 

Then it was that Joe Ladue shamelessly gave over. He 
led Daylight away from the camp and men and told him 
things in confidence. 

"She's sure there," he said in conclusion. "I didn't sluice 
it, or cradle it. I panned it, all in that sack, yesterday, on 
the rim-rock. I tell you you can shake it out of the grass- 
roots. And what's on bed-rock down in the bottom of 
the creek they ain't no way of tellin'. But she's big, I tell 



BURNING DAYLIGHT |vJ^Hoi I4. l^l^l 

you, big. Keep it quiet, and locate all you can. It's in 
spots, but I wouldn't be none surprised if some of them 
claims yielded as high as fifty thousand. The only trouble 
is that it's spotted." 

A month passed by, and Bonanza Creek remained quiet. 
A sprinkling of men had staked; but most of them, after 
staking, had gone on down to Forty Mile and Circle City. 
The few that possessed sufficient faith to remain were busy 
building log cabins against the coming of winter. Car- 
mack and his Indian relatives were occupied in building 
a sluice box and getting a head of water. The work was 
slow, for they had to saw their lumber by hand from the 
standing forest. But farther down Bonanza were four men 
who had drifted in from up river, Dan McGilvary, Dave 
McKay, Dave Edwards, and Harry Waugh, They were 
a quiet party, neither asking nor giving confidences, and 
they herded by themselves. But Daylight, who had panned 
the spotted rim of Carmack's claim and shaken coarse 
gold from the grass-roots, and who had panned the rim 
at a hundred other places up and down the length of the 
creek and found nothing, was curious to know what lay on 
bed-rock. He had noted the four quiet men sinking a shaft 
close by the stream, and he had heard their whip-saw going 
as they made lumber for the sluice boxes. He did not 
wait for an invitation, but he was present the first day 
they sluiced. And at the end of five hours' shovelhng for 
one man, he saw them take out thirteen ounces and a half 
of gold. It was coarse gold, running from pinheads to a 
twelve-dollar nugget, and it had come from off bed-rock. 
The first fall snow was flying that day, and the Arctic winter 
was closing down; but Daylight had no eyes for the bleak- 
gray sadness of the dying, short-lived summer. He saw 
his vision coming true, and on the big flat was upreared 
anew his golden city of the snows. Gold had been found 



9 8 ! BURNING DAYLIGHT 

on bed-rock. That was the big thing. Carmack's strike 
was assured. Daylight staked a claim in his own name 
adjoining the three he had purchased with his plug tobacco. 
This gave him a block of property two thousand feet long 
and extending in width from rim-rock to rim-rock. 

Returning that night to his camp at the mouth of Klon- 
dike, he found in it Kama, the Indian he had left at Dyea. 
Kama was travelling by canoe, bringing in the last mail of 
the year. In his possession was some two hundred dollars 
in gold-dust, which Daylight immediately borrowed. In 
return, he arranged to stake a claim for him, which he was 
to record when he passed through Forty Mile. When 
Kama departed next morning, he carried a number of letters 
for Daylight, addressed to all the old-timers down river, 
in which they were urged to come up immediately and 
stake. Also Kama carried letters of similar import, given 
him by the other men on Bonanza. 

"It will sure be the gosh-dangdest stampede that ever 
was," Daylight chuckled, as he tried to vision the excited 
populations of Forty Mile and Circle City tumbling into 
poling-boats and racing the hundreds of miles up the 
Yukon; for he knew that his word would be unquestion- 
ingly accepted. 

With the arrival of the first stampeders, Bonanza Creek 
woke up, and thereupon began a long-distance race between 
unveracity and truth, wherein, lie no matter how fast, men 
were continually overtaken and passed by truth. When 
men who doubted Carmack's report of two and a half to 
the pan, themselves panned two and a half, they lied and 
said that they were getting an ounce. And long ere the lie 
was fairly on its way, they were getting not one ounce but 
five ounces. This they claimed was ten ounces; but when 
they filled a pan of dirt to prove the lie, they washed out 
twelve ounces. And so it went. They continued valiantly 
to lie, but the truth continued to outrun them. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 99 

One day in December Daylight filled a pan from bed 
rock on his own claim and carried it into his cabin. Here 
a fire burned and enabled him to keep water unfrozen in 
a canvas tank. He squatted over the tank and began to 
wash. Earth and gravel seemed to fill the pan. As he 
imparted to it a circular movement, the lighter, coarser 
particles washed out over the edge. At times he combed 
the surface with his fingers, raking out handfuls of gravel. 
The contents of the pan diminished. As it drew near to the 
bottom, for the purpose of fleeting and tentative examina- 
tion, he gave the pan a sudden sloshing movement, empty- 
ing it of water. And the whole bottom showed as if covered 
with butter. Thus the yellow gold flashed up as the muddy 
water was flirted away. It was gold — gold-dust, coarse 
gold, nuggets, large nuggets. He was all alone. He set 
the pan down for a moment and thought long thoughts. 
Then he finished the washing, and weighed the result in his 
scales. At the rate of sixteen dollars to the ounce, the pan 
had contained seven hundred and odd dollars. It was 
beyond anything that even he had dreamed. His fondest 
anticipations had gone no farther than twenty or thirty 
thousand dollars to a claim; but here were claims worth 
half a million each at the least, even if they were spotted. 

He did not go back to work in the shaft that day, nor the 
next, nor the next. Instead, capped and mittened, a light 
stampeding outfit, including his rabbit skin robe, strapped 
on his back, he was out and away on a many-days' tramp 
over creeks and divides, inspecting the whole neighboring 
territory. On each creek he was entitled to locate one 
claim, but he was chary in thus surrendering up his chances. 
On Hunker Creek only did he stake a claim. Bonanza 
Creek he found staked from mouth to source, while every 
little draw and pup and gulch that drained into it was like- 
wise staked. Little faith was had in these side-streams. 
They had been staked by the hundreds of men who had 



100 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

failed to get in on Bonanza. The most popular of these 
creeks was Adams. The one least fancied was Eldorado, 
which flowed into Bonanza, just above Carmack's Dis- 
covery claim. Even Daylight disliked the looks of Eldo- 
rado; but, still riding his hunch, he bought a half share 
in one claim on it for half a sack of flour. A month later 
he paid eight hundred dollars for the adjoining claim. 
Three months later, enlarging this block of property, he 
paid forty thousand for a third claim; and, though it was 
concealed in the future, he was destined, not long after, 
to pay one hundred and fifty thousand for a fourth claim 
on the creek that had been the least liked of all the creeks. 

In the meantime, and from the day he washed seven hun- 
dred dollars from a single pan and squatted over it and 
thought a long thought, he never again touched hand to 
pick and shovel. As he said to Joe Ladue the night of that 
wonderful washing: — 

"Joe, I ain't never going to work hard again. Here's 
where I begin to use my brains. I'm going to farm gold. 
Gold will grow gold if you-all have the savvee and can get 
hold of some for seed. When I seen them seven hundred 
dollars in the bottom of the pan, I knew I had the seed at 
last." 

"Where are you going to plant it?" Joe Ladue had asked. 

And Daylight, with a wave of his hand, definitely in- 
dicated the whole landscape and the creeks that lay beyond 
the divides. 

"There she is," he said, "and you-all just watch my 
smoke. There's millions here for the man who can see 
them. And I seen all them millions this afternoon when 
them seven hundred dollars peeped up at me from the bot- 
tom of the pan and chirruped, 'Well, if here ain't Burning 
Daylight come at last.' " 



CHAPTER XI 

The hero of the Yukon in the younger days before the 
Carmack strike, Burning Daylight now became the hero 
of the strike. The story of his hunch and how he rode it 
was told up and down the land. Certainly he had ridden 
it far and away beyond the boldest, for no five of the luck- 
iest held the value in claims that he held. And, further- 
more, he was still riding the hunch, and with no diminution 
of daring. The wise ones shook their heads and prophesied 
that he would lose every ounce he had won. He was 
speculating, they contended, as if the whole country was 
made of gold, and no man could win who played a placer 
strike in that fasliion. 

On the other hand, his holdings were reckoned as worth 
millions, and there were men so sanguine that they held the 
man a fool who coppered ^ any bet Daylight laid. Behind 
his magnificent free-handedness and careless disregard for 
money were hard, practical judgment, imagination and 
vision, and the daring of the big gambler. He foresaw 
what with his own eyes he had never seen, and he played 
to win much or lose all. 

"There's too much gold here in Bonanza to be just a 
pocket," he argued. "It's sure come from a mother-lode 
somewhere, and other creeks will show up. You-all keep 
your eyes on Indian River. The creeks that drain that side 
the Klondike watershed are just as likely to have gold as 
the creeks that drain this side." 

And he backed this opinion to the extent of grub-staking 
half a dozen parties of prospectors across the big divide 

^ To copper: a term in faro, meaning to play a card to lose. 

lOI 



102 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

into the Indian River region. Other men, themselves fail- 
ing to stake on lucky creeks, he put to work on his Bonanza 
claims. And he paid them well — sixteen dollars a day 
for an eight-hour shift, and he ran three shifts. He had 
grub to start them on, and when, on the last water, the 
Bella arrived loaded with provisions, he traded a warehouse 
site to Jack Kearns for a supply of grub that lasted all his 
men through the winter of 1896. And that winter, when 
famine pinched, and flour sold for two dollars a pound, he 
kept three shifts of men at work on all four of the Bonanza 
claims. Other mine-owners paid fifteen dollars a day to 
their men; but he had been the first to put men to work, 
and from the first he paid them a full ounce a day. One 
result was that his were picked men, and they more than 
earned their higher pay. 

One of his wildest plays took place in the early winter 
after the freeze-up. Hundreds of stampeders, after staking 
on other creeks than Bonanza, had gone on disgruntled 
down river to Forty Mile and Circle City. Daylight 
mortgaged one of his Bonanza dumps with the Alaska 
Commercial Company, and tucked a letter of credit into 
his pouch. Then he harnessed his dogs and went down 
on the ice at a pace that only he could travel. One Indian 
down, another Indian back, and four teams of dogs was his 
record. And at Forty ]\Iile and Circle City he bought 
claims by the score. Many of these were to prove utterly 
worthless, but some few of them were to show up more 
astoundingly than any on Bonanza. He bought right and 
left, paying as low as fifty dollars and as high as five thou- 
sand. This highest one he bought in the Tivoli Saloon. It 
was an upper claim on Eldorado, and when he agreed to the 
price, Jacob Wilkins, an old-timer just returned from a look 
at the moose-pasture, got up and left the room, saying: — 

"Daylight, I've known you seven year, and you've always 
seemed sensible till now. And now you're just letting them 



BURNING DAYLIGHT IO3 

rob you right and left. That's what it is — robbery. Five 
thousand for a claim on that damned moose-pasture is 
bunco. I just can't stay in the room and see you buncoed 
that way." 

"I tell you-all," Daylight answered, "Wilkins, Carmack's 
strike's so big that we-all can't see it all. It's a lottery. 
Every claim I buy is a ticket. And there's sure going to 
be some capital prizes." 

Jacob Wilkins, standing in the open door, sniffed in- 
credulously. 

''Now supposing, Wilkins," Daylight went on, "suppos- 
ing you-all knew it was going to rain soup. What'd you-all 
do? Buy spoons, of course. Well, I'm sure buying spoons. 
She's going to rain soup up there on the Klondike, and them 
that has forks won't be catching none of it." 

But Wilkins here slammed the door behind him, and 
Daylight broke off to finish the purchase of the claim. 

Back in Dawson, though he remained true to his word 
and never touched hand to pick and shovel, he worked as 
hard as ever in his life. He had a thousand irons in the 
fire, and they kept him busy. Representation work was 
expensive, and he was compelled to travel often over the 
various creeks in order to decide which claims should lapse 
and which should be retained. A quartz miner himself in 
his early youth, before coming to Alaska, he dreamed of 
finding the mother-lode. A placer camp he knew was 
ephemeral, while a quartz camp abided, and he kept a score 
of men in the quest for months. The mother-lode was 
never found, and, years afterward, he estimated that the 
search for it had cost him fifty thousand dollars. 

But he was playing big. Heavy as were his expenses, 
he won more heavily. He took lays, bought half shares, 
shared with the men he grub-staked, and made personal 
locations. Day and night his dogs were ready, and he 
owned the fastest teams ; so that when a stampede to a new 



104 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

discovery was on, it was Burning Daylight to the fore 
through the longest, coldest nights till he blazed his stakes 
next to Discovery. In one way or another (to say nothing 
of the many worthless creeks) he came into possession of 
properties on the good creeks, such as Sulphur, Dominion, 
Excelsis, Siwash, Cristo, Alhambra, and Doolittle. The 
thousands he poured out flowed back in tens of thousands. 
Forty Mile men told the story of his two tons of flour, and 
made calculations of what it had returned him that ranged 
from half a million to a million. One thing was known 
beyond all doubt, namely, that the half share in the first 
Eldorado claim, bought by him for a half sack of flour, was 
worth five hundred thousand. On the other hand, it was 
told that when Freda, the dancer, arrived from over the 
passes in a Peterborough canoe in the midst of a drive of 
mush-ice on the Yukon, and when she offered a thousand 
dollars for ten sacks and could find no sellers, he sent the 
flour to her as a present without ever seeing her. In the 
same way ten sacks were sent to the lone Catholic priest 
who was starting the first hospital. 

His generosity was lavish. Others called it insane. At 
a time when, riding his hunch, he was getting half a million 
for half a sack of flour, it was nothing less than insanity 
to give twenty whole sacks to a dancing-girl and a priest. 
But it was his way. Money was only a marker. It was 
the game that counted with him. The possession of mil- 
lions made little change in him, except that he played the 
game more passionately. Temperate as he had always been, 
save on rare occasions, now that he had the wherewithal 
for unlimited drinks and had daily access to them, he drank 
even less. The most radical change lay in that, except 
when on trail, he no longer did his own cooking. A broken- 
down miner lived in his log cabin with him and now cooked 
for him. But it was the same food: bacon, beans, flour, 
prunes, dried fruits, and rice. He still dressed as formerly: 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 10$ 

overalls, German socks, moccasins, flannel shirt, fur cap, 
and blanket coat. He did not take up with cigars, which 
cost, the cheapest, from half a dolar to a dollar each. The 
same Bull Durham and brown-paper cigarette, hand-rolled, 
contented him. It was true that he kept more dogs, and 
paid enormous prices for them. They were not a luxury, 
but a matter of business. He needed speed in his travelling 
and stampeding. And by the same token, he hired a cook. 
He was too busy to cook for himself, that was all. It was 
poor business, playing for millions, to spend time building 
fires and boiling water. 

Dawson grew rapidly that winter of 1896. Money poured 
in on Daylight from the sale of town lots. He promptly 
invested it where it would gather more. In fact, he played 
the dangerous game of pyramiding, and no more perilous 
pyramiding than in a placer camp could be imagined. But 
he played with his eyes wide open. 

*'You-all just wait till the news of this strike reaches the 
Outside," he told his old-timer cronies in the Moosehorn 
Saloon. "The news won't get out till next spring. Then 
there's going to be three rushes. A summer rush of men 
coming in light; a fall rush of men with outfits; and a spring 
rush, the next year after that, of fifty thousand. You-all 
won't be able to see the landscape for chechaquos. Well, 
there's the summer and fall rush of 1897 to commence with. 
What are you-all going to do about it?" 

"What are you going to do about it?" a friend demanded. 

"Nothing," he answered. "I've sure already done it. 
I've got a dozen gangs strung out up the Yukon getting out 
logs. You-all '11 see their rafts coming down after the river 
breaks. Cabins ! They sure will be worth what a man can 
pay for them next fall. Lumber! It will sure go to top- 
notch, I've got two sawmills freighting in over the passes. 
They'll come down as soon as the lakes open up. And if 
you-all are thinking of needing lumber, I'll make you-all 



I06 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

contracts right now — three hundred dollars a thousand, 
undressed." 

Corner lots in desirable locations sold that winter for 
from ten to thirty thousand dollars. Daylight sent word 
out over the trails and passes for the newcomers to bring 
down log-rafts, and, as a result, the summer of 1897 saw 
his sawmills working day and night, on three shifts, and 
still he had logs left over with which to build cabins. These 
cabins, land included, sold at from one to several thousand 
dollars. Two-story log buildings, in the business part of 
town, brought him from forty to fifty thousand dollars 
apiece. These fresh accretions of capital were immediately 
invested in other ventures. He turned gold over and over, 
until everything that he touched seemed to turn to gold. 

But that first wild winter of Carmack's strike taught 
Daylight many things. Despite the prodigality of his na- 
ture, he had poise. He watched the lavish waste of the 
mushroom millionaires, and failed quite to understand it. 
According to his nature and outlook, it was all very well to 
toss an ante away in a night's frolic. That was what he 
had done the night of the p>oker-game in Circle City when 
he lost fifty thousand — all that he possessed. But he had 
looked on that fifty thousand as a mere ante. When it 
came to millions, it was different. Such a fortune was a 
stake, and was not to be sown on bar-room floors, Uterally 
sown, flung broadcast out of the moosehide sacks by drunk- 
en millionaires who had lost all sense of proportion. There 
was McMann, who ran up a single bar-room bill of thirty- 
eight thousand dollars; and Jimmie the Rough, who spent 
one hundred thousand a month for four months in riotous 
living, and then fell down drunk in the snow one March 
night and was frozen to death; and Swiftwater Bill, who, 
after spending three valuable claims in an extravagance of 
debauchery, borrowed three thousand dollars with which to 
leave the country, and who, out of this sum, because the 



BURNING DAYLIGHT IO7 

lady-love that had jilted him liked eggs, cornered the one 
hundred and ten dozen eggs on the Dawson market, paying 
twenty-four dollars a dozen for them and promptly feeding 
them to the wolf-dogs. 

Champagne sold at from forty to fifty dollars a quart, 
and canned oyster stew at fifteen dollars. Daylight in- 
dulged in no such luxuries. He did not mind treating a 
bar-room of men to whiskey at fifty cents a drink, but there 
was somewhere in his own extravagant nature a sense of 
fitness and arithmetic that revolted against paying fifteen 
dollars for the contents of an oyster can. On the other hand, 
he possibly spent more money in relieving hard-luck cases 
than did the wildest of the new millionaires on insane de- 
bauchery. Father Judge, of the hospital, could have told 
of far more important donations than that first ten sacks of 
flour. And old-timers who came to Daylight invariably 
went away relieved according to their need. But fifty dol- 
lars for a quart of fizzy champagne! That was appalling. 

And yet he still, on occasion, made one of his old-time 
hell-roaring nights. But he did so for different reasons. 
First, it was expected of him because it had been his way 
in the old days. And second, he could afford it. But he 
no longer cared quite so much for that form of diversion. 
He had developed, in a new way, the taste for power. It 
had become a lust with him. By far the wealthiest miner 
in Alaska, he wanted to be still wealthier. It was a big game 
he was playing in, and he liked it better than any other 
game. In a way, the part he played was creative. He was 
doing something. And at no time, striking another chord 
of his nature, could he take the joy in a million-dollar 
Eldorado dump that was at all equivalent to the joy he 
took in watching his two sawmills working and the big 
down river log-rafts s\^^nging into the bank in the big eddy 
just above Moosehide Mountain. Gold, even on the scales, 
was, after all, an abstraction. It represented things and 



I08 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

the power to do. But the sawmills were the things them- 
selves, concrete and tangible, and they were things that 
were a means to the doing of more things. They were 
dreams come true, hard and indubitable realizations of 
fairy gossamers. 

With the summer rush from the Outside came special 
correspondents for the big newspapers and magazines, and 
one and all, using unlimited space, they wrote Daylight up; 
so that, so far as the world was concerned, Daylight loomed 
the largest figure in Alaska. Of course, after several months, 
the world became interested in the Spanish War, and for- 
got all about him; but in the Klondike itself Daylight still 
remained the most prominent figure. Passing along the 
streets of Dawson, all heads turned to follow him, and in 
the saloons chechaquos watched him. awesomely, scarcely 
taking their eyes from him as long as he remained in their 
range of vision. Not alone was he the richest man in the 
country, but he was Burning Daylight, the pioneer, the 
man who, almost in the midst of antiquity of that young 
land, had crossed the Chilcoot and drifted down the Yukon 
to meet those elder giants, Al Mayo and Jack McQuestion. 
He was the Burning Daylight of scores of wild adventures, 
the man who carried word to the ice-bound whaling fleet 
across the tundra wilderness to the Arctic Sea, who raced 
the mail from Circle to Salt Water and back again in sixty 
days, who saved the whole Tanana tribe from perishing in 
the winter of '91 — in short, the man who smote the che- 
chaquos' imaginations more violently than any other dozen 
men rolled into one. 

He had the fatal facility for self-advertisement. Things 
he did, no matter how adventitious or spontaneous, struck 
the popular imagination as remarkable. And the latest 
thing he had done was always on men's lips, whether it was 
being first in the heartbreaking stampede to Danish Creek, 
in killing the record baldface grizzly over on Sulphur Creek, 



BURNING DAYLIGHT IO9 

or in winning the single-paddle canoe race on the Queen's 
Birthday, after being forced to participate at the last 
moment by the failure of the sourdough representative 
to appear. Thus, one night in the Moosehorn, he locked 
horns with Jack Kearns in the long-promised return game 
of poker. The sky and eight o'clock in the morning were 
made the limits, and at the close of the game Daylight's win- 
nings were two hundred and thirty thousand dollars. To 
Jack Kearns, already a several-times millionaire, this loss 
was not vital. But the whole community was thrilled by the 
size of the stakes, and each one of the dozen correspondents 
in the field sent out a sensational article. 



CHAPTER XII 

Despite his many sources of revenue, Daylight's pyra- 
miding kept him pinched for cash throughout the first win- 
ter. The pay-gravel, thawed on bed-rock and hoisted to the 
surface, immediately froze again. Thus his dumps, con- 
taining several millions of gold, were inaccessible. Not 
until the returning sun thawed the dumps and melted the 
water to wash them was he able to handle the gold they 
contained. And then he found himself with a surplus of 
gold, deposited in the two newly organized banks; and he 
was promptly besieged by men and groups of men to 
enlist his capital in their enterprises. 

But he elected to play his o\\ti game, and he entered 
combinations only when they were generally defensive or 
offensive. Thus, though he had paid the highest wages, he 
joined the Mine-owners' Association, engineered the fight, 
and effectually curbed the growing insubordination of the 
wage-earners. Times had changed. The old days were 
gone forever. This was a new era, and Daylight, the 
wealthy mine-owner, was loyal to his class affiliations. It 
was true, the old-timers who worked for him, in order to be 
saved from the club of the organized owners, were made 
foremen over the gang of chechaquos ; but this, with Day- 
light, was a matter of heart, not head. In his heart he 
could not forget the old days, while with his head he played 
the economic game according to the latest and most prac- 
tical methods. 

But outside of such group-combinations of exploiters, he 
refused to bind himself to any man's game. He was play- 
ing a great lone hand, and he needed all his money for his 

no 



BURNING DAYLIGHT III 

own backing. The newly founded stock-exchange interested 
him keenly. He had never before seen such an institution, 
but he was quick to see its virtues and to utilize it. Most 
of all, it was gambling, and on many an occasion not neces- 
sary for the advancement of his own schemes, he, as he 
called it, went the stock-exchange a flutter, out of sheer 
wantonness and fun. 

"It sure beats faro," was his comment one day, when, 
after keeping the Dawson speculators in a fever for a week 
by alternate bulling and bearing, he showed his hand and 
cleaned up what would have been a fortune to any other 
man. 

Other men, having made their strike, had headed south 
for the States, taking a furlough from the grim Arctic 
battle. But, asked when he was going Outside, Daylight 
always laughed and said when he had finished playing his 
hand. He also added that a man was a fool to quit a game 
just when a winning hand had been dealt him. 

It was held by the thousands of hero-worshipping che- 
chaquos that Daylight was a man absolutely without fear. 
But Bettles and Dan MacDonald and other sourdoughs 
shook their heads and laughed as they mentioned women. 
And they were right. He had always been afraid of them 
from the time, himself a lad of seventeen, when Queen 
Anne, of Juneau, made open and ridiculous love to him. 
For that matter, he never had known women. Born in a 
mining-camp where they were rare and mysterious, having 
no sisters, his mother dying while he was an infant, he had 
never been in contact with them. True, running away from 
Queen Anne, he had later encountered them on the Yukon 
and cultivated an acquaintance with them — the pioneer 
ones who crossed the passes on the trail of the men who had 
opened up the first diggings. But no lamb had ever walked 
with a wolf in greater fear and trembling than had he 
walked with them. It was a matter of masculine pride that 



112 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

he should walk with them, and he had done so in fair seem- 
ing; but women had remained to him a closed book, and he 
preferred a game of solo or seven-up any time. 

And now, known as the King of the Klondike, carrying 
several other royal titles, such as Eldorado King, Bonanza 
King, the Lumber Baron, and the Prince of the Stampeders, 
not to omit the proudest appellation of all, namely, the 
Father of the Sourdoughs, he was more afraid of women 
than ever. As never before they held out their arms to 
him, and more women were flocking into the country day 
by day. It mattered not whether he sat at dinner in the 
gold commissioner's house, called for the drinks in a dance- 
hall, or submitted to an interview from the woman repre- 
sentative of the New York Sun, one and all of them held 
out their arms. 

There was one exception, and that was Freda, the girl 
that danced, and to whom he had given the flour. She was 
the only woman in whose company he felt at ease, for she 
alone never reached out her arms. And yet it was from 
her that he was destined to receive next to his severest 
fright. It came about in the fall of 1897. He was return- 
ing from one of his dashes, this time to inspect Henderson, 
a creek that entered the Yukon just below the Stewart. 
Winter had come on with a rush, and he fought his way 
down the Yukon seventy miles in a frail Peterborough canoe 
in the midst of a run of mush-ice. Hugging the rim-ice 
that had already solidly formed, he shot across the ice- 
spewing mouth of the Klondike just in time to see a lone 
man dancing excitedly on the rim and pointing into the 
water. Next, he saw the fur-clad body of a woman, face 
under, sinking in the midst of the driving mush-ice. A lane 
opening in the swirl of the current, it was a matter of sec- 
onds to drive the canoe to the spot, reach to the shoulder 
in the water, and draw the woman gingerly to the canoe's 
side. It was Freda. And all might yet have been well with 



BURNING DAYLIGHT II3 

him, had she not, later, when brought back to consciousness, 
blazed at him with angry blue eyes and demanded: "Why 
did you? Oh, why did you?" 

This worried him. In the nights that followed, instead 
of sinking immediately to sleep as was his wont, he lay 
awake, visioning her face and that blue blaze of wrath, and 
conning her words over and over. They rang with sincerity. 
The reproach was genuine. She had meant just what she 
said. And still he pondered. 

The next time he encountered her she had turned away 
from him angrily and contemptuously. And yet again, 
she came to him to beg his pardon, and she dropped a hint 
of a man somewhere, sometime, — she said not how, — who 
had left her with no desire to live. Her speech was frank, 
but incoherent, and all he gleaned from it was that the 
event, whatever it was, had happened years before. Also, 
he gleaned that she had loved the man. 

That was the thing — love. It caused the trouble. It 
was more terrible than frost or famine. Women were all 
very well, in themselves good to look upon and likable; but 
along came this thing called love, and they were seared to 
the bone by it, made so irrational that one could never 
guess what they would do next. This Freda-woman was 
a splendid creature, full-bodied, beautiful, and nobody's 
fool; but love had come along and soured her on the world, 
driving her to the Klondike and to suicide so compellingly 
that she was made to hate the man that saved her life. 

Well, he had escaped love so far, just as he had escaped 
smallpox; yet there it was, as contagious as smallpox, and 
a whole lot worse in running its course. It made men and 
women do such fearful and unreasonable things. It was 
like delirium tremens, only worse. And if he, Daylight, 
caught it, he might have it as badly as any of them. It was 
lunacy, stark lunacy, and contagious on top of it all. A 
half dozen young fellows were crazy over Freda. They 



114 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

all wanted to marry her. Yet she, in turn, was crazy over 
that some other fellow on the other side of the world, and 
would have nothing to do with them. 

But it was left to the Virgin to give him his final fright. 
She was found one morning dead in her cabin. A shot 
through the head had done it, and she had left no message, 
no explanation. Then came the talk. Some wit, voicing 
public opinion, called it a case of too much Daylight. She 
had killed herself because of him. Everybody knew this, 
and said so. The correspondents wrote it up, and once 
more Burning Daylight, King of the Klondike, was sensa- 
tionally featured in the Sunday supplements of the United 
States. The Virgin had straightened up, so the feature- 
stories ran, and correctly so. Never had she entered a 
Dawson City dance-hall. When she first arrived from 
Circle City, she had earned her living by washing clothes. 
Next, she had bought a sewing-machine and made men's 
drill parkas, fur caps, and moosehide mittens. Then she 
had gone as a clerk into the First Yukon Bank. All this, 
and more, was known and told, though one and all were 
agreed that Daylight, while the cause, had been the innocent 
cause of her untimely end. 

And the worst of it was that Daylight knew it was true. 
Always would he remember that last night he had seen her. 
He had thought nothing of it at the time; but, looking 
back, he was haunted by every little thing that had hap- 
pened. In the light of the tragic event, he could understand 
everything — her quietness, that calm certitude as if all 
vexing questions of living had been smoothed out and were 
gone, and that certain ethereal sweetness about all that she 
had said and done that had been almost maternal. He re- 
membered the way she had looked at him, how she had 
laughed when he narrated Mickey Dolan's mistake in stak- 
ing the fraction on Skookum Gulch, Her laughter had been 
lightly joyous, while at the same time it had lacked its old- 



BURNING DAYLIGHT II 5 

time robustness. Not that she had been grave or subdued. 
On the contrary, she had been so patently content, so filled 
with peace. She had fooled him, fool that he was. He 
had even thought that night that her feeling for him had 
passed, and he had taken delight in the thought, and caught 
visions of the satisfying future friendship that would be 
theirs with this perturbing love out of the way. 

And then, when he stood at the door, cap in hand, and 
said good night. It had struck him at the time as a funny 
and embarrassing thing, her bending over his hand and 
kissing it. He had felt like a fool, but he shivered now 
when he looked back on it and felt again the touch of her 
lips on his hand. She was saying good-by, an eternal 
good-by, and he had never guessed. At that very moment, 
and for all the moments of the evening, coolly and deliber- 
ately, as he well knew her way, she had been resolved to die. 
If he had only known it! Untouched by the contagious 
malady himself, nevertheless he would have married her if 
he had had the slightest inkling of what she contemplated. 
And yet he knew, furthermore, that hers was a certain 
stiff-kneed pride that would not have permitted her to 
accept marriage as an act of philanthropy. There had 
really been no saving her, after all. The love-disease had 
fastened upon her, and she had been doomed from the first 
to perish of it. 

Her one possible chance had been that he, too, should 
have caught it. And he had failed to catch it. Most 
likely, if he had, it would have been from Freda or some 
other woman. There was Dartworthy, the college man 
who had staked the rich fraction on Bonanza above Dis- 
covery. Everybody knew that old Doolittle's daughter. 
Bertha, was madly in love with him. Yet, when he con- 
tracted the disease, of all women, it had been with the 
wife of Colonel Walthstone, the great Guggenhammer min- 
ing expert. Result, three lunacy cases: Dartworthy selling 



Il6 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

out his mine for one-tenth its value; the poor woman 
sacrificing her respectability and sheltered nook in society 
to flee with him in an open boat down the Yukon; and 
Colonel Walthstone, breathing murder and destruction, 
taking out after them in another open boat. The whole 
impending tragedy had moved on down the muddy Yukon, 
passing Forty Mile and Circle and losing itself in the wil- 
derness beyond. But there it was, love, disorganizing men's 
and women's lives, driving toward destruction and death, 
turning topsy-turvy everything that was sensible and con- 
siderate, making bawds or suicides out of virtuous women, 
and scoundrels and murderers out of men who had always 
been clean and square. 

For the first time in his life Daylight lost his nerve. 
He was badly and avowedly frightened. Women were 
terrible creatures, and the love-germ was especially plenti- 
ful in their neighborhood. And they were so reckless, so 
devoid of fear. They were not frightened by what had hap- 
pened to the Virgin. They held out their arms to him more 
seductively than ever. Even without his fortune, reckoned 
as a mere man, just past thirty, magnificently strong and 
equally good-looking and good-natured, he was a prize for 
most normal women. But when to his natural excellences 
were added the romance that linked with his name and the 
enormous wealth that was his, practically every free woman 
he encountered measured him with an appraising and de- 
lighted eye, to say nothing of more than one woman who 
was not free. Other men might have been spoiled by this 
and led to lose their heads; but the only effect on him was 
to increase his fright. As a result he refused most invita- 
tions to houses where women might be met, and frequented 
bachelor boards and the Moosehorn Saloon, which had no 
dance-hall attached. 



CHAPTER XIII 

Six thousand spent the winter of 1897 in Dawson, work 
on the creeks went on apace, while beyond the passes it was 
reported that one hundred thousand more were waiting for 
the spring. Late one brief afternoon, Dayhght, on the 
benches between French Hill and Skookum Hill, caught a 
wider vision of things. Beneath him lay the richest part of 
Eldorado Creek, while up and down Bonanza he could see 
for miles. It was a scene of a vast devastation. The hills, 
to their tops, had been shorn of trees, and their naked sides 
showed signs of goring and perforating that even the mantle 
of snow could not hide. Beneath him, in every direction, 
were the cabins of men. But not many men were visible. 
A blanket of smoke filled the valleys and turned the gray 
day to melancholy twilight. Smoke arose from a thousand 
holes in the snow, where, deep down on bed-rock, in the 
frozen muck and gravel, men crept and scratched and dug, 
and ever built more fires to break the grip of the frost. 
Here and there, where new shafts were starting, these fires 
flamed redly. Figures of men crawled out of the holes, or 
disappeared into them, or, on raised platforms of hand- 
hewn timber, windlassed the thawed gravel to the surface, 
where it immediately froze. The wreckage of the spring 
washing appeared everywhere — piles of sluice-boxes, sec- 
tions of elevated flumes, huge water-wheels, — all the debris 
of an army of gold-mad men. 

"It-all's plain gophering," Daylight muttered aloud. 

He looked at the naked hills and realized the enormous 
wastage of wood that had taken place. From this bird's- 
eye view he realized the monstrous confusion of their 

117 



Il8 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

excited workings. It was a gigantic inadequacy. Each 
worked for himself, and the result was chaos. In this 
richest of diggings it cost one dollar to mine two dollars, 
and for every dollar taken out by their feverish, unthinking 
methods another dollar was left hopelessly in the earth. 
Given another year, and most of the claims would be 
worked out, and the sum of the gold taken out would no 
more than equal what was left behind. 

Organization was what was needed, he decided; and his 
quick imagination sketched Eldorado Creek, from mouth to 
source, and from mountain top to mountain top, in the hands 
of one capable management. Even steam-thawing, as yet 
untried, but bound to come, he saw would be a makeshift. 
What should be done was to hydraulic the valley sides and 
benches, and then, on the creek bottom, to use gold-dredges 
such as he had heard described as operating in California. 

There was the very chance for another big kilUng. He 
had wondered just what was precisely the reason for the 
Guggenhammers and the big English concerns sending in 
their high-salaried experts. That was their scheme. That 
was why they had approached him for the sale of worked- 
out claims and tailings. They were content to let the 
small mine-owners gopher out what they could, for there 
would be millions in the leavings. 

And, gazing down on the smoky inferno of crude effort, 
Daylight outlined the new game he would play, a game 
in which the Guggenhammers and the rest would have to 
reckon with him. But along with the delight in the new 
conception came a weariness. He was tired of the long 
Arctic years, and he was curious about the Outside — the 
great world of which he had heard other men talk and of 
which he was as ignorant as a child. There were games 
out there to play. It was a larger table, and there was no 
reason why he with his millions should not sit in and take 
a hand. So it was, that afternoon on Skookum Hill, that 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 119 

he resolved to play this last best Klondike hand and pull 
for the Outside. 

It took time, however. He put trusted agents to work on 
the heels of great experts, and on the creeks where they 
began to buy he likewise bought. Wherever they tried to 
corner a worked-out creek, they found him standing in the 
way, owning blocks of claims or artfully scattered claims 
that put all their plans to naught. 

"I play you-all wide open to win — am I right?" he told 
them once, in a heated conference. 

Followed wars, truces, compromises, victories, and de- 
feats. By 1898, sixty thousand men were on the Klondike, 
and all their fortunes and affairs rocked back and forth 
and were affected by the battles Daylight fought. And 
more and more the taste for the larger game urged in Day- 
light's mouth. Here he was already locked in grapples with 
the great Guggenhammers, and winning, fiercely winning. 
Possibly the severest struggle was waged on Ophir, the 
veriest of moose-pastures, whose low-grade dirt was valu- 
able only because of its vastness. The ownership of a block 
of seven claims in the heart of it gave Daylight his grip, 
and they could not come to terms. The Guggenhammer 
experts concluded that it was too big for him to handle, and 
when they gave him an ultimatum to that effect he accepted 
and bought them out. 

The plan was his own, but he sent down to the States for 
competent engineers to carry it out.. In the Rinkabilly 
watershed, eighty miles away, he built his reservoir, and 
for eighty miles the huge wooden conduit carried the water 
across country to Ophir. Estimated at three millions, the 
reservoir and conduit cost nearer four. Nor did he stop 
with this. Electric power plants were installed, and his 
workings were lighted as well as run by electricity. Other 
sourdoughs, who had struck it rich in excess of all their 
dreams, shook their heads gloomily, warned him that he 



120 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

would go broke, and declined to invest in so extravagant a 
venture. But Daylight smiled, and sold out the remainder 
of his town-site holdings. He sold at the right time, at the 
height of the placer boom. When he prophesied to his old 
cronies, in the Moosehorn Saloon, that within five years 
town lots in Dawson could not be given away, while the 
cabins would be chopped up for firewood, he was laughed at 
roundly, and assured that the mother-lode would be found 
ere that time. But he went ahead, when his need for lum- 
ber was finished, selling out his sawmills as well. Likewise, 
he began to get rid of his scattered holdings on the various 
creeks, and without thanks to any one he finished his con- 
duit, built his dredges, imported his machinery, and made 
the gold of Ophir immediately accessible. And he, who 
five years before had crossed over the divide from Indian 
River and threaded the silent wilderness, his dogs packing 
Indian fashion, himself living Indian fashion on straight 
moose meat, now heard the hoarse whistles calling his hun- 
dreds of laborers to work, and watched them toil under the 
white glare of the arc-lamps. 

But having done the thing, he was ready to depart. And 
when he let the word go out, the Guggenhammers vied with 
the English concerns and with a new French company in 
bidding for Ophir and all its plant. The Guggenhammers 
bid highest, and the price they paid netted Daylight a clean 
million. It was current rumor that he was worth anywhere 
from twenty to thirty milHons. But he alone knew just 
how he stood, and that, with his last claim sold and the 
table swept clean of his winnings, he had ridden his hunch 
to the tune of just a trifle over eleven millions. 

His departure was a thing that passed into the history of 
the Yukon along with his other deeds. All the Yukon was 
his guest, Dawson the seat of the festivity. On that one 
last night no man's dust save his own was good. Drinks 
were not to be purchased. Every saloon ran open, with 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 121 

extra relays of exhausted bartenders, and the drinks were 
given away. A man who refused this hospitaUty, and per- 
sisted in pajdng, found a dozen fights on his hands. The 
veriest chechaquos rose up to defend the name of DayUght 
from such insult. And through it all, on moccasined feet, 
moved Daylight, hell-roaring Burning Daylight, over-spill- 
ing with good nature and camaraderie, howling his he-wolf 
howl and claiming the night as his, bending men's arms 
down on the bars, performing feats of strength, his bronzed 
face flushed with drink, his black eyes flashing, clad in 
overalls and blanket coat, his ear-flaps dangling and his 
gauntleted mittens swinging from the cord across the 
shoulders. But this time it was neither an ante nor a stake 
that he threw away, but a mere marker in the game that he 
who held so many markers would not miss. 

As a night, it eclipsed anything that Dawson had ever 
seen. It was Daylight's desire to make it memorable, and 
his attempt was a success. A goodly portion of Dawson 
got drunk that night. The fall weather was on, and, though 
the freeze-up of the Yukon still delayed, the thermometer 
was down to twenty-five below zero and falling. Where- 
fore, it was necessary to organize gangs of life-savers, who 
patrolled the streets to pick up drunken men from where 
they fell in the snow and where an hour's sleep would be 
fatal. Daylight, whose whim it was to make them drunk 
by hundreds and by thousands, was the one who initiated 
this life-saving. He wanted Dawson to have its night, but, 
in his deeper processes never careless nor wanton, he saw 
to it that it was a night without accident. And, like his 
olden nights, his ukase went forth that there should be no 
quarrelling nor fighting, offenders to be dealt with by him 
personally. Nor did he have to deal with any. Hundreds 
of devoted followers saw to it that the evilly disposed were 
rolled in the snow and hustled off to bed. In the great 
world, where great captains of industry die, all wheels 



122 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

under their erstwhile management are stopped for a min- 
ute. But in the Klondike, such was its hilarious sorrow at 
the departure of its captain, that for twenty-four hours no 
wheels revolved. Even great Ophir, with its thousand men 
on the pay-roll, closed down. On the day after the night 
there were no men present or fit to go to work- 
Next morning, at break of day, Dawson said good-by. 
The thousands that lined the bank wore mittens and their 
ear-flaps pulled down and tied. It was thirty below zero, 
the rim-ice was thickening, and the Yukon carried a run of 
mush-ice. From the deck of the Seattle, Daylight waved 
and called his farewells. As the lines were cast off and the 
steamer swung out into the current, those near him saw the 
moisture well up in Daylight's eyes. In a way, it was to 
him departure from his native land, this grim Arctic region 
which was practically the only land he had known. He 
tore off his cap and waved it. 

"Good-by, you-all ! " he called. "Good-by, you-all ! " 



PART II 
CHAPTER I 

In no blaze of glory did Burning Daylight descend upon 
San Francisco. Not only had he been forgotten, but the 
Klondike along with him. The world was interested in 
other things, and the Alaskan adventure, like the Spanish 
War, was an old story. Many things had happened since 
then. Exciting things were happening every day, and the 
sensation-space of newspapers was limited. The effect of 
being ignored, however, was an exhilaration. Big man as 
he had been in the Arctic game, it merely showed how much 
bigger was this new game, when a man worth eleven mil- 
lions, and with a history such as his, passed unnoticed. 

He settled down in St. Francis Hotel, was interviewed by 
the cub-reporters on the hotel-run, and received brief para- 
graphs of notice for twenty-four hours. He grinned to him- 
self, and began to look around and get acquainted with the 
new order of beings and things. He was very awkward 
and very self-possessed. In addition to the stiffening af- 
forded his backbone by the conscious ownership of eleven 
millions, he possessed an enormous certitude. Nothing 
abashed him, nor was he appalled by the display and culture 
and power around him. It was another kind of wilder- 
ness, that was all ; and it was for him to learn the ways of 
it, the signs and trails and water-holes where good hunting 
lay, and the bad stretches of field and flood to be avoided. 
As usual, he fought shy of the women. He was still too 
badly scared to come to close quarters with the dazzling 
and resplendent creatures his own millions made accessible. 

123 



124 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

They looked and longed, but he so concealed his timidity 
that he had all the seeming of moving boldly among them. 
Nor was it his wealth alone that attracted them. He was 
too much a man, and too much an unusual type of man. 
Young yet, barely thirty-six, eminently handsome, magnifi- 
cently strong, almost bursting with a splendid \drility, his 
free trail-stride, never learned on pavements, and his black 
eyes, hinting of great spaces and unwearied with the close 
perspective of the city dwellers, drew many a curious and 
wayward feminine glance. He saw, grinned knowingly to 
himself, and faced them as so many dangers, with a cool 
demeanor that was a far greater personal achievement than 
had they been famine, frost, or flood. 

He had come down to the States to play the man's game, 
not the woman's game; and the men he had not yet learned. 
They struck him as soft — soft physically; yet he divined 
them hard in their dealings, but hard under an exterior of 
supple softness. It struck him that there was something 
cat-like about them. He met them in the clubs, and won- 
dered how real was the good-fellowship they displayed and 
how quickly they would unsheathe their claws and gouge 
and rend. "That's the proposition," he repeated to him- 
self; "what will they-all do when the play is close and down 
to brass tacks?" He felt unwarrantably suspicious of 
them. "They're sure slick," was his secret judgment; and 
from bits of gossip dropped now and again he felt his judg- 
ment well buttressed. On the other hand, they radiated an 
atmosphere of manliness and the fair play that goes with 
manliness. They might gouge and rend in a fight — which 
was no more than natural ; but he felt, somehow, that they 
would gouge and rend according to rule. This was the 
impression he got of them — a generalization tempered by 
knowledge that there was bound to be a certain percentage 
of scoundrels among them. 

Several months passed in San Francisco, during which 



Il 



GEHSI'ILIAN f BURNING DAYLIGHT 12$ 

time he studied the game and its rules, and prepared him- 
self to take a hand. He even took private instruction in 
English, and succeeded in eliminating his worst faults, 
though in moments of excitement he was prone to lapse into 
"you-all," "knowed," "sure," and similar solecisms. He 
learned to eat and dress and generally comport himself after 
the manner of civilized man ; but through it all he remained 
himself, not unduly reverential nor considerative, and never 
hesitating to stride rough-shod over any soft-faced conven- 
tion if it got in his way and the provocation were great 
enough. Also, and unlike the average run of weaker men 
coming from back countries and far places, he failed to 
reverence the particular tin gods worshipped variously by 
the civilized tribes of men. He had seen totems before, and 
knew them for what they were. 

Tiring of being merely an onlooker, he ran up to Nevada, 
where the new gold-mining boom was fairly started — "just 
to try a flutter," as he phrased it to himself. The flutter 
on the Tonopah Stock Exchange lasted just ten days, dur^ 
ing which time his smashing, wild-bull game played ducks 
and drakes with the more stereotyped gamblers, and at 
the end of which time, having gambled Floridel into his fist, 
he let go for a net profit of half a million. Whereupon, 
smacking his lips, he departed for San Francisco and the 
St. Francis Hotel. It tasted good, and his hunger for the 
game became more acute. 

And once more the papers sensationalized him. BURN- 
ING DAYLIGHT was a big-letter headline again. Inter- 
viewers flocked about him. Old files of magazines and 
newspapers were searched through, and the romantic and 
historic Elam Harnish, Adventurer of the Frost, King of 
the Klondike, and father of the Sourdoughs, strode upon the 
breakfast table of a million homes along with the toast and 
breakfast foods. Even before his elected time, he was forc- 
ibly launched into the game. Financiers and promoters, 



126 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

and all the flotsam and jetsam of the sea of speculation 
surged upon the shores of his eleven millions. In self- 
defence he was compelled to open offices. He had made 
them sit up and take notice, and now, willy-nilly, they were 
dealing him hands and clamoring for him to play. Well, 
play he would; he'd show 'em; even despite the elated 
prophesies made of how swiftly he would be trimmed — 
prophesies coupled with descriptions of the bucolic game he 
would play and of his wild and woolly appearance. 

He dabbled in httle things at first — "stalling for time," 
as he explained it to Holdsworthy, a friend he had made at 
the Alta-Pacific Club. Daylight himself was a member of 
the club, and Holdsworthy had proposed him. And it was 
well that Daylight played closely at first, for he was as- 
tounded by the multitudes of sharks — "ground-sharks," 
he called them — that flocked about him. He saw through 
their schemes readily enough, and even marvelled that such 
numbers of them could find sufficient prey to keep them 
going. Their rascality and general dubiousness was so 
transparent that he could not understand how any one 
could be taken in by them. 

And then he found that there were sharks and sharks. 
Holdsworthy treated him more like a brother than a mere 
fellow-clubman, watching over him, advising him, and in- 
troducing him to the magnates of the local financial world. 
Holdsworthy's family lived in a delightful bungalow near 
Menlo Park, and here Daylight spent a number of week- 
ends, seeing a fineness and kindness of home life of which 
he had never dreamed. Holdsworthy was an enthusiast 
over flowers, and a half lunatic over raising prize poultry; 
and these engrossing madnesses were a source of perpetual 
joy to Daylight, who looked on in tolerant good humor. 
Such amiable weaknesses tokened the healthfulness of the 
man, and drew Daylight closer to him. A prosperous, 
successful business man without great ambition, was 



BURNING DAYLIGHT I27 

Daylight's estimate of him — a man too easily satisfied 
with the small stakes of the game ever to launch out in 
big play. 

On one such week-end visit, Holdsworthy let him in on 
a good thing, a good little thing, a brickyard at Glen Ellen. 
Daylight listened closely to the other's description of the 
situation. It was a most reasonable venture, and Day- 
light's one objection was that it was so small a matter and 
so far out of his line; and he went into it only as a matter 
of friendship, Holdsworthy explaining that he was himself 
already in a bit, and that while it was a good thing, he would 
be compelled to make sacrifices in other directions in order 
to develop it. Daylight advanced the capital, fifty thousand 
dollars, and, as he laughingly explained afterward, "I was 
stung, all right, but it wasn't Holdsworthy that did it half 
as much as those blamed chickens and fruit-trees of his." 

It was a good lesson, however, for he learned that there 
were few faiths in the business world, and that even the 
simple, homely faith of breaking bread and eating salt 
counted for little in the face of a worthless brickyard and 
fifty thousand dollars in cash. But the sharks and sharks 
of various orders and degrees, he concluded, were on the 
surface. Deep down, he divined, were the integrities and 
the stabilities. These big captains of industry and masters 
of finance, he decided, were the men to work with. By the 
very nature of their huge deals and enterprises they had 
to play fair. No room there for little sharpers' tricks and 
bunco games. It was to be expected that little men should 
salt gold-mines with a shotgun and work off worthless brick- 
yards on their friends, but in high finance such methods 
were not worth while. There the men were engaged in 
developing the country, organizing its railroads, opening up 
its mines, making accessible its vast natural resources. 
Their play was bound to be big and stable. ''They sure 
can't afford tin-horn tactics," was his summing up. 



128 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

So it was that he resolved to leave the little men, thu 
Holdsworthys, alone; and, while he met them in good-fel^ 
lowship, he chummed with none, and formed no deep friend- 
ships. He did not dislike the little men, the men of the 
Alta-Pacific, for instance. He merely did not elect to 
choose them for partners in the big game in which he 
intended to play. What that big game was, even he did 
not know. He was waiting to find it. And in the mean* 
time he played small hands, investing in several arid-lands 
reclamation projects and keeping his eyes open for the big 
chance when it should come along. 

And then he met John Dowsett, the great John Dowsett. 
The whole thing was fortuitous. This cannot be doubted. 
As Daylight himself knew, it was by the merest chance, 
when in Los Angeles, that he heard the tuna were running 
strong at Santa Catalina, and went over to the island in- 
stead of returning directly to San Francisco as he had 
planned. There he met John Dowsett, resting off for sev- 
eral days in the middle of a flying western trip. Dowsett 
had of course heard of the spectacular Klondike King and 
his rumored thirty millions, and he certainly found himself 
interested by the man in the acquaintance that was formed. 
Somewhere along in this acquaintanceship the idea must 
have popped into his brain. But he did not broach it, pre- 
ferring to mature it carefully. So he talked in large gen- 
eral ways, and did his best to be agreeable and win 
Daylight's friendship. 

It was the first big magnate Daylight had met face to 
face, and he was pleased and charmed. There was such a 
kindly humanness about the man, such a genial democratic- 
ness, that Daylight found it hard to realize that this was the 
John Dowsett, president of a string of banks, insurance 
manipulator, reputed ally of the lieutenants of Standard 
Oil, and known ally of the Guggenhammers. Nor did his 
looks belie his reputation and his manner. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 29 

Physically, he guaranteed all that Daylight knew of him. 
Despite his sixty years and snow-white hair, his hand-shake 
was firmly hearty, and he showed no signs of decrepitude, 
walking with a quick, snappy step, making all movements 
definitely and decisively. His skin was a healthy pink, and 
his thin, clean lips knew the way to writhe heartily over a 
joke. He had honest blue eyes of palest blue ; they looked 
out at one keenly and frankly from under shaggy gray 
brows. His mind showed itself disciplined and orderly, and 
its workings struck Daylight as having all the certitude of 
a steel trap. He was a man who knew and who never deco- 
rated his knowledge with foolish frills of sentiment or emo- 
tion. That he was accustomed to command was patent, 
and every word and gesture tingled with power. Combined 
with this was his sympathy and tact, and Daylight could 
note easily enough all the earmarks that distinguished him 
from a little man of the Holds worthy caliber. Daylight 
knew also his history, the prime old American stock from 
which he had descended, his own war record, the John 
Dowsett before him who had been one of the banking but- 
tresses of the Cause of the Union, the Commodore Dowsett 
of the War of 1812, the General Dowsett of Revolutionary 
fame, and that first far Dowsett, owner of lands and slaves 
in early New England. 

"He's sure the real thing," he told one of his fellow-club- 
men afterwards, in the smoking-room of the Alta-Pacific. 
"I tell you. Gallon, he was a genuine surprise to me. I knew 
the big ones had to be like that, but I had to see him to 
really know it. He's one of the fellows that does things. 
You can see it sticking out all over him. He's one in a 
thousand, that's straight, a man to tie to. There's no limit 
to any game he plays, and you can stack on it that he plays 
right up to the handle. I bet he can lose or win half a dozen 
million without batting an eye." 

Gallon puffed at his cigar, and at the conclusion of the 



130 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

panegyric regarded the other curiously; but Daylight, or- 
dering cocktails, failed to note this curious stare. 

"Going in with him on some deal, I suppose," Gallon 
remarked. 

"Nope, not the slightest idea. — Here's kindness. I was 
just explaining that I'd come to understand how these big 
fellows do big things. Why, d'ye know, he gave me such 
a feeling that he knew everything, that I was plumb 
ashamed of myself." 

"I guess I could give him cards and spades when it comes 
to driving a dog-team, though," Daylight observed, after 
a meditative pause. "And I really believe I could put him 
on to a few wrinkles in poker and placer mining, and maybe 
in paddHng a birch canoe. And maybe I stand a better 
chance to learn the game he's been playing all his life than 
he would stand of learning the game I played up North." 



CHAPTER II 

It was not long afterward that Daylight came on to New 
York. A letter from John Dowsett had been the cause — 
a simple little typewritten letter of several lines. But Day- 
light had thrilled as he read it. He remembered the thrill 
that was his, a callow youth of fifteen, when, in Tempas 
Butte, through lack of a fourth man, Tom Galsworthy, the 
gambler, had said, ''Get in, Kid; take a hand." That thrill 
was his now. The bald, typewritten sentences seemed 
gorged with mystery. "Our Mr. Howison will call upon 
you at your hotel. He is to be trusted. We must not be seen 
together. You will understand after we have had our talk." 
Daylight conned the words over and over. That was it. 
The big game had arrived, and it looked as if he were being 
invited to sit in and take a hand. Surely, for no other 
reason would one man so peremptorily invite another man 
to make a journey across the continent. 

They met — thanks to "our" Mr. Howison, — up the 
Hudson, in a magnificent country home. Daylight, accord- 
ing to instructions, arrived in a private motor-car which 
had been furnished him. Whose car it was he did not know 
any more than did he know the owner of the house, with 
its generous, rolling, tree-studded lawns. Dowsett was al- 
ready there, and another man whom Daylight recognized 
before the introduction was begun. It was Nathaniel 
Letton, and none other. Daylight had seen his face a score 
of times in the magazines and newspapers, and read about 
his standing in the financial world and about his endowed 
University of Daratona. He, likewise, struck Daylight as 
a man of power, though he was puzzled in that he could find 

131 



132 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

no likeness to Dowsett. Except in the matter of cleanness, 
— a cleanness that seemed to go down to the deepest fibers 
of him, — Nathaniel Letton was unlike the other in every 
particular. Thin to emaciation, he seemed a cold flame of 
a man, a man of a mysterious, chemic sort of flame, who, 
under a glacier-like exterior, conveyed, somehow, the im- 
pression of the ardent heat of a thousand suns. His large 
gray eyes were mainly responsible for this feeling, and they 
blazed out feverishly from what was almost a death's-head, 
so thin was the face, the skin of which was a ghastly, dull, 
dead white. Not more than fifty, thatched with a sparse 
growth of iron-gray hair, he looked several times the age of 
Dowsett. Yet Nathaniel Letton possessed control — Day- 
light could see that plainly. He was a thin-faced ascetic, 
living in a state of high, attenuated calm — a molten planet 
under a transcontinental ice sheet. And yet, above all, 
most of all. Daylight was impressed by the terrific and al- 
most awful cleanness of the man. There was no dross in 
him. He had all the seeming of having been purged by fire. 
Daylight had the feeling that a healthy man-oath would 
be a deadly offence to his ears, a sacrilege and a blasphemy. 

They drank — that is, Nathaniel Letton took mineral 
water served by the smoothly operating machine of a lackey 
who inhabited the place, while Dowsett took Scotch and 
soda and Daylight a cocktail. Nobody seemed to notice 
the unusualness of a Martini at midnight, though Daylight 
looked sharply for that very thing; for he had long since 
learned that Martinis had their strictly appointed times and 
places. But he liked Martinis, and, being a natural man, 
he chose deliberately to drink when and how he pleased. 
Others had noticed this peculiar habit of his, but not so 
Dowsett and Letton; and Daylight's secret thought was: 
''They sure wouldn't bat an eye if I called for a glass of 
corrosive sublimate." 

Leon Guggenhammer arrived in the midst of the drink, 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 33 

and ordered Scotch, Daylight studied him curiously. This 
was one of the great Guggenhammer family; a younger 
one, but nevertheless one of the crowd with which he had 
locked grapples in the North. Nor did Leon Guggenham- 
mer fail to mention cognizance of that old affair. He 
complimented Daylight on his prowess — ''The echoes of 
Ophir came down to us, you know. And I must say, Mr. 
Daylight — er, Mr. Harnish, that you whipped us roundly 
in that affair." 

Echoes! Dayhght could not escape the shock of the 
phrase — echoes had come down to them of the fight into 
which he had flung all his strength and the strength of his 
Klondike millions. The Guggenhammers sure must go 
some when a fight of that dimension was no more than a 
skirmish of which they deigned to hear echoes. "They sure 
play an almighty big game down here," was his conclusion, 
accompanied by a corresponding elation that it was just 
precisely that almighty big game in which he was about 
to be invited to play a hand. For the moment he poignantly 
regretted that rumor was not true, and that his eleven mil- 
lions were not in reality thirty millions. Well, that much 
he would be frank about; he would let them know exactly 
how many stacks of chips he could buy. 

Leon Guggenhammer was young and fat. Not a day 
more than thirty, his face, save for the adumbrated puff 
sacks under the eyes, was as smooth and lineless as a boy's. 
He, too, gave the impression of cleanness. He showed in 
the pink of health; his unblemished, smooth-shaven skin 
shouted advertisement of his splendid physical condition. 
In the face of that perfect skin, his very fatness and mature, 
rotund paunch could be nothing other than normal. He 
was constituted to be prone to fatness, that was all. 

The talk soon centred down to business, though Guggen- 
hammer had first to say his say about the forthcoming 
international yacht race and about his own palatial steam 



134 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

yacht, the Electra, whose recent engines were already anti- 
quated. Dowsett broached the plan, aided by an occa- 
sional remark from the other two, while Daylight asked 
questions. Whatever the proposition was, he was going 
into it with his eyes open. And they filled his eyes with 
the practical vision of what they had in mind. 

"They will never dream you are with us," Guggen- 
hammer interjected, as the outlining of the matter drew to 
a close, his handsome Jewish eyes flashing enthusiastically. 
"They'll think you are raiding on your own in proper buc- 
caneer style." 

"Of course, you understand, Mr, Harnish, the absolute 
need for keeping our alliance in the dark," Nathaniel Letton 
warned gravely. 

Daylight nodded his head. 

"And you also understand," Letton went on, "that the 
result can only be productive of good. The thing is legiti- 
mate and right, and the only ones who may be hurt are 
the stock gamblers themselves. It is not an attempt to 
smash the market. As you see yourself, you are to bull the 
market. The honest investor will be the gainer." 

"Yes, that's the very thing," Dowsett said. "The com- 
mercial need for copper is continually increasing. Ward 
Valley Copper, and all that it stands for, — practically one- 
quarter of the world's supply, as I have shown you, — is a 
big thing, how big, even we can scarcely estimate. Our 
arrangements are made. We have plenty of capital our- 
selves, and yet we want more. Also, there is too much 
Ward Valley out to suit our present plans. Thus we kill 
both birds with one stone — " 

"And I am the stone," Daylight broke in with a smile. 

"Yes, just that. Not only will you bull Ward Valley, 
but you will at the same time gather Ward Valley in. This 
will be of inestimable advantage to us, while you and all of 
us will profit by it as well. And as Mr. Letton has pointed 



BUENING DAYLIGHT 135 

out, the thing is legitimate and square. On the eighteenth 
the directors meet, and, instead of the customary dividend, 
a double dividend will be declared." 

"And where will the shorts be then?" Leon Guggen- 
hammer cried excitedly. 

"The shorts will be the speculators," Nathaniel Letton 
explained, "the gamblers, the froth of Wall Street — you 
understand. The genuine investors will not be hurt. Fur- 
thermore, they will have learned for the thousandth time 
to have confidence in Ward Valley. And with their confi- 
dence we can carry through the large developments we have 
outhned to you." 

"There will be all sorts of rumors on the street," Dowsett 
warned Daylight, "but do not let them frighten you. These 
rumors may even originate with us. You can see how and 
why clearly. But rumors are to be no concern of yours. 
You are on the inside. All you have to do is buy, buy, buy, 
and keep on buying to the last stroke, when the directors 
declare the double dividend. Ward Valley will jump so that 
it won't be feasible to buy after that." 

"What we want," Letton took up the strain, pausing- 
significantly to sip his mineral water, "what we want is to 
take large blocks of Ward Valley off the hands of the public. 
We could do this easily enough by depressing the market 
and frightening the holders. And we could do it more 
cheaply in such fashion. But we are absolute masters of 
the situation, and we are fair enough to buy Ward Valley 
on a rising market. Not that we are philanthropists, but 
that we need the investors in our big development scheme. 
Nor do we lose directly by the transaction. The instant 
the action of the directors becomes known. Ward Valley 
will rush heavenward. In addition, and outside the legiti- 
mate field of the transaction, we will pinch the shorts for 
a very large sum. But that is only incidental, you under- 
stand, and, in a way, unavoidable. On the other hand, we 



136 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

shall not turn up our noses at that phase of it. The shorts 
shall be the veriest gamblers, of course, and they will get 
no more than they deserve." 

"And one other thing, Mr. Harnish," Guggenhammer 
said, "if you exceed your available cash, or the amount 
you care to invest in the venture, don't fail immediately 
to call on us. Remember, we are behind you." 

"Yes, we are behind you," Dowsett repeated. 

Nathaniel Letton nodded his head in affirmation. 

"Now about that double dividend on the eighteenth — " 
John Dowsett drew a slip of paper from his note-book and 
adjusted his glasses. "Let me show you the figures. Here, 
you see . . ." 

And thereupon he entered into a long technical and his- 
torical explanation of the earnings and dividends of Ward 
Valley from the day of its organization. 

The whole conference lasted not more than an hour, 
during which time Daylight lived at the topmost of the 
highest peak of life that he had ever scaled. These men 
were big players. They were powers. True, as he knew 
himself, they were not the real inner circle. They did not 
rank with the Morgans and Harrimans. And yet they 
were in touch with those giants and were themselves lesser 
giants. He was pleased, too, with their attitude toward 
him. They met him deferentially, but not patronizingly. 
It was the deference of equality, and Daylight could not 
escape the subtle flattery of it; for he was fully aware that 
in experience as well as wealth they were far and away 
beyond him. 

"We'll shake up the speculating crowd," Leon Guggen- 
hammer proclaimed jubilantly, as they rose to go. "And 
you are the man to do it, Mr. Harnish. They are bound 
to think you are on your own, and their shears are all sharp- 
ened for the trimming of newcomers like you." 

"They will certainly be misled," Letton agreed, his eerie 



BURNING DAYLIGHT I37 

gray eyes blazing out from the voluminous folds of the 
huge muffler with which he was swathing his neck to the 
ears. "Their minds run in ruts. It is the unexpected that 
upsets their stereotyped calculations — any new combina- 
tion, any strange factor, any fresh variant. And you will 
be all that to them, Mr. Harnish. And I repeat, they are 
gamblers, and they will deserve all that befalls them. They 
clog and cumber all legitimate enterprise. You have no 
idea of the trouble they cause men like us — sometimes, by 
their gambling tactics, upsetting the soundest plans, even 
overturning the stablest institutions." 

Dowsett and young Guggenhammer went away in one 
motor-car, and Letton by himself in another. Daylight, 
with still in the forefront of his consciousness all that had 
occurred in the preceding hour, was deeply impressed by 
the scene at the moment of departure. The three machines 
stood like weird night monsters at the gravelled foot of the 
wide stairway under the unlighted porte-cochere. It was a 
dark night, and the lights of the motor-cars cut as sharply 
through the blackness as knives would cut through solid 
substance. The obsequious lackey — the automatic genie 
of the house which belonged to none of the three men, — 
stood like a graven statue after having helped them in. 
The fur-coated chauffeurs bulked dimly in their seats. One 
after the other, like spurred steeds, the cars leaped into the 
blackness, took the curve of the driveway, and were gone. 

Daylight's car was the last, and, peering out, he caught 
a glimpse of the unlighted house that loomed hu^ly through 
the darkness like a mountain. Whose was it? he wondered. 
How came they to use it for their secret conference? Would 
the lackey talk? How about the chauffeurs? Were they 
trusted men like "our" Mr. Howison? Mystery? The 
affair was alive with it. And hand in hand with mystery 
walked Power. He leaned back and inhaled his cigarette 
Big things were afoot. The cards were shuffled even theu 



138 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

for a mighty deal, and he was in on it. He remembered 
back to his poker games with Jack Kearns, and laughed 
aloud. He had played for thousands in those days on the 
turn of a card; but now he was playing for millions. And 
on the eighteenth, when that dividend was declared, he 
chuckled at the confusion that would inevitably descend 
upon the men with the sharpened shears waiting to trim 
him — him, Burning Daylight. 



CHAPTER III 

Back at his hotel, though nearly two in the morning, he 
found the reporters waiting to interview him. Next morn- 
ing there were more. And thus, with blare of paper trum- 
pet, was he received by New York. Once more, with beat- 
ing of toms-toms and wild hullaballoo, his picturesque figure 
strode across the printed sheet. The King of the Klondike, 
the hero of the Arctic, the thirty-million-dollar millionaire 
of the North, had come to New York. What had he come 
for? To trim the New Yorkers as he had trimmed the 
Tonopah crowd in Nevada? Wall Street had best watch 
out, for the wild man of Klondike had just come to town. 
Or, perchance, would Wall Street trim him? Wall Street 
had trimmed many wild men ; would this be Burning Day- 
light's fate? Daylight grinned to himself, and gave out 
ambiguous interviews. It helped the game, and he grinned 
again, as he meditated that Wall Street would sure have to 
go some before it trimmed him. 

They were prepared for him to play, and, when heavy 
buying of Ward Valley began, it was quickly decided that 
he was the operator. Financial gossip buzzed and hummed. 
He was after the Guggenhammers once more. The story 
of Ophir was told over again and sensationalized until even 
Daylight scarcely recognized it. Still, it was all grist to 
his mill. The stock gamblers were clearly befooled. Each 
day he increased his buying, and so eager were the sell- 
ers that Ward Valley rose but slowly. "It sure beats 
poker," Daylight whispered gleefully to himself, as he 
noted the perturbation he was causing. The newspapers 

139 



140 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

hazarded countless guesses and surmises, and Daylight was 
constantly dogged by a small battalion of reporters. His 
own interviews were gems. Discovering the delight the 
newspapers took in his vernacular, in his "you-alls," and 
"sures," and ''surge-ups," he even exaggerated these pecu- 
liarities of speech, exploiting the phrases he had heard other 
frontiersmen use, and inventing occasionally a new one of 
his own. 

A wildly exciting time was his during the week preceding 
Thursday the eighteenth. Not only was he gambling as he 
had never gambled before, but he was gambling at the big- 
gest table in the world and for stakes so large that even the 
case-hardened habitues of that table were compelled to sit 
up. In spite of the unlimited selling, his persistent buying 
compelled Ward Valley steadily to rise, and as Thursday 
approached, the situation became acute. Something had 
to smash. How much Ward Valley was this Klondike 
gambler going to buy? How much could he buy? What 
was the Ward Valley crowd doing all this time? Daylight 
appreciated the interviews with them that appeared — in- 
terviews delightfully placid and non-committal. Leon 
Guggenhammer even hazarded the opinion that this North- 
land Croesus might possibly be making a mistake. But not 
that they cared, John Dowsett explained. Nor did they 
object. While in the dark regarding his intentions, of one 
thing they were certain ; namely, that he was bulling Ward 
Valley. And they did not mind that. No matter what 
happened to him and his spectacular operations. Ward 
Valley was all right, and would remain all right, as firm 
as the Rock of Gibraltar. No; they had no Ward Valley 
to sell, thank you. This purely fictitious state of the 
market was bound shortly to pass, and Ward Valley was 
not to be induced to change the even tenor of its way by 
any insane stock exchange flurry. "It is purely gambling 
from beginning to end," were Nathaniel Letton's words; 



BURNING DAYLIGHT I4I 

"and we refuse to have anything to do with it or to take 
notice of it in any way." 

During this time Daylight had several secret meetings 
with his partners — one with Leon Guggenhammer, one 
with John Dowsett, and two with Mr, Howison. Beyond 
congratulations, they really amounted to nothing; for, as 
he was informed, everything was going satisfactorily. 

But on Tuesday morning a rumor that was disconcert- 
ing came to Daylight's ears. It was also published in the 
Wall Street Journal, and it was to the effect, on apparently 
straight inside information, that on Thursday, when the 
directors of Ward Valley met, instead of the customary 
dividend being declared, an assessment would be levied. It 
was the first check Daylight had received. It came to him 
with a shock that if the thing were so he was a broken 
man. And it also came to him that all this colossal operat- 
ing of his was being done on his own money. Dowsett, 
Guggenhammer, and Letton were risking nothing. It was 
a panic, short-lived, it was true, but sharp enough while it 
lasted to make him remember Holdsworthy and the brick- 
yard, and to impel him to cancel all buying orders while 
he rushed to a telephone. 

"Nothing in it — only a rumor," came Leon Guggen- 
hammer's throaty voice in the receiver. "As you know," 
said Nathaniel Letton, "I am one of the directors, and I 
should certainly be aware of it were such action contem- 
plated." And John Dowsett: "I warned you against just 
such rumors. There is not an iota of truth in it — certainly 
not. I tell you on my honor as a gentleman." 

Heartily ashamed of himself for his temporary loss of 
nerve. Daylight returned to his task. The cessation of 
buying had turned the Stock Exchange into a bedlam, and 
down all the line of stocks the bears were smashing. Ward 
Valley, as the apex, received the brunt of the shock, and 
was already beginning to tumble. Daylight calmly doubled 



142 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

his buying orders. And all through Tuesday and Wednes- 
day, and Thursday morning, he went on buying, while Ward 
Valley rose triumphantly higher. Still they sold, and still 
he bought, exceeding his power to buy many times over, 
when dehvery was taken into account. What of that? On 
this day the double dividend would be declared, he assured 
himself. The pinch of delivery would be on the shorts. 
They would be making terms with him. 

And then the thunderbolt struck. True to the rumor, 
Ward Valley levied the assessment. Daylight threw up his 
arms. He verified the report and quit. Not alone Ward 
Valley, but all securities were being hammered down by 
the triumphant bears. As for Ward Valley, Daylight did 
not even trouble to learn if it had fetched bottom or was still 
tumbling. Not stunned, not even bewildered, while Wall 
Street went mad. Daylight withdrew from the field to think 
it over. After a short conference with his brokers, he pro- 
ceeded to his hotel, on the way picking up the evening 
papers and glancing at the head-Knes. BURNING DAY- 
LIGHT CLEANED OUT, he read; DAYLIGHT GETS 
HIS; ANOTHER WESTERNER FAILS TO FIND 
EASY MONEY. As he entered his hotel, a later edition 
announced the suicide of a young man, a lamb, who had 
followed Daylight's play. What in hell did he want to kill 
himself for? was Daylight's muttered comment. 

He passed up to his rooms, ordered a Martini cocktail, 
took off his shoes, and sat down to think. After half an 
hour he roused himself to take the drink, and as he felt the 
liquor pass warmingly through his body, his features re- 
laxed into a slow, deliberate, yet genuine grin. He was 
laughing at himself. 

"Buncoed, by gosh!" he muttered. 

Then the grin died away, and his face grew bleak and 
serious. Leaving out his interests in the several Western 
reclamation projects (which were still assessing heavily), 



BURNING DAYLIGHT I43 

he was a ruined man. But harder hit than this was his 
pride. He had been so easy. They had gold-bricked him, 
and he had nothing to show for it. The simplest farmer 
would have had documents, while he had nothing but a 
gentleman's agreement, and a verbal one at that. Gentle- 
man's agreement! He snorted over it. John Dowsett's 
voice, just as he had heard it in the telephone receiver, 
sounded in his ears the words, "On my honor as a gentle- 
man." They were sneak-thieves and swindlers, that was 
what they were, and they had given him the double-cross. 
The newspapers were right. He had come to New York to 
be trimmed, and Messrs. Dowsett, Letton, and Guggenham- 
mer had done it. He was a little fish, and they had played 
with him ten days — ample time in which to swallow him, 
along with his eleven millions. Of course, they had been 
unloading on him all the time, and now they were buying 
Ward Valley back for a song ere the market righted itself. 
Most probably, out of his share of the swag, Nathaniel 
Letton would erect a couple of new buildings for that uni- 
versity of his. Leon Guggenhammer would buy new engines 
for that yacht, or a whole fleet of yachts. But what the 
devil Dowsett would do with his whack, was beyond him 
— most likely start another string of banks. 

And Daylight sat and consumed cocktails and saw back 
in his life to Alaska, and lived over the grim years in which 
he had battled for his eleven millions. For a while murder 
ate at his heart, and wild ideas and sketchy plans of killing 
his betrayers flashed through his mind. That was what 
that young man should have done instead of killing him- 
self. He should have gone gunning. Daylight unlocked his 
grip and took out his automatic pistol — a big Colt's .44. 
He released the safety catch with his thumb, and, operating 
the sliding outer barrel, ran the contents of the clip through 
the mechanism. The eight cartridges slid out in a stream. 
He refilled the clip, threw a cartridge into the chamber, and, 



144 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

with the trigger at full cock, thrust up the safety ratchet. 
He shoved the weapon into the side pocket of his coat, 
ordered another Martini, and resumed his seat. 

He thought steadily for an hour, but he grinned no more. 
Lines formed in his face, and in those lines were the travail 
of the North, the bite of the frost, all that he had achieved 
and suffered — the long, unending weeks of trail, the bleak 
tundra shore of Point Barrow, the smashing ice-jam of the 
Yukon, the battles with animals and men, the lean-dragged 
days of famine, the long months of stinging hell among the 
mosquitoes of the Koyokuk, the toil of pick and shovel, the 
scars and mars of pack-strap and tump-line, the straight 
meat diet with the dogs, and all the long procession of 
twenty full years of toil and sweat and endeavor. 

At ten o'clock he arose and pored over the city directory. 
Then he put on his shoes, took a cab, and departed into the 
night. Twice he changed cabs, and finally fetched up at 
the night office of a detective agency. He superintended 
the thing himself, laid down money in advance in profuse 
quantities, selected the six men he needed, and gave them 
their instructions. Never, for so simple a task, had they 
been so well paid; for, to each, in addition to office charges, 
he gave a five-hundred-dollar bill, with the promise of 
another if he succeeded. Some time next day, he was 
convinced, if not sooner, his three silent partners would 
come together. To each one two of his detectives were to 
be attached. Time and place was all he wanted to learn. 

''Stop at nothing, boys," were his final instructions. "I 
must have this information. Whatever you do, whatever 
happens, I'll sure see you through." 

Returning to his hotel, he changed cabs as before, went 
up to his room, and with one more cocktail for a nightcap, 
went to bed and to sleep. In the morning he dressed and 
shaved, ordered breakfast and the newspapers sent up, and 
waited. But he did not drink. By nine o'clock his tele- 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 14$ 

phone began to ring and the reports to come in. Nathaniel 
Letton was taking the train at Tarrytown. John Dowsett 
was coming down by the subway. Leon Guggenhammer 
had not stirred out yet, though he was assuredly within. 
And in this fashion, with a map of the city spread out before 
him, Daylight followed the movements of his three men as 
they drew together. Nathaniel Letton was at his offices 
in the Mutual-Solander Building. Next arrived Guggen- 
hammer. Dowsett was still in his own offices. But at 
eleven came the word that he also had arrived, and several 
minutes later Daylight was in a hired motor-car and speed- 
ing for the Mutual-Solander Building. 



CHAPTER IV 

Nathaniel Letton was talking when the door opened; 
he ceased, and with his two companions gazed with con- 
trolled perturbation at Burning Daylight striding into the 
room. The free, swinging movements of the trail-traveller 
were unconsciously exaggerated in that stride of his. In 
truth, it seemed to him that he felt the trail beneath his 
feet. 

"Howdy, gentlemen, howdy," he remarked, ignoring the 
unnatural calm with which they greeted his entrance. He 
shook hands with them in turn, striding from one to an- 
other and gripping their hands so heartily that Nathaniel 
Letton could not forbear to wince. Daylight flung himself 
into a massive chair and sprawled lazily, with an appear- 
ance of fatigue. The leather grip he had brought into the 
room he dropped carelessly beside him on the floor. 

"Goddle mighty, but I've sure been going some," he 
sighed. "We sure trimmed them beautiful. It was real 
slick. And the beauty of the play never dawned on me 
till the very end. It was pure and simple knock down and 
drag out. And the way they fell for it was amazin'." 

The geniality in his lazy Western drawl reassured them. 
He was not so formidable, after all. Despite the fact that 
he had effected an entrance in the face of Letton's instruc- 
tions to the outer office, he showed no indication of making 
a scene or playing rough. 

"Well," DayHght demanded good-humoredly, "ain't you- 
all got a good word for your pardner? Or has his sure 
enough brilliance plumb dazzled you-all?" 

146 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 147 

Letton made a dry sound in his throat. Dowsett sat 
quietly and waited, while Leon Guggenhammer struggled 
into articulation. 

"You have certainly raised Cain," he said. 

Dayhght's black eyes flashed in a pleased way. 

"Didn't I, though!" he proclaimed jubilantly. "And 
didn't we fool 'em! I was teetotally surprised. I never 
dreamed they would be that easy. 

"And now," he went on, not permitting the pause to 
grow awkward, "we-all might as well have an accounting. 
I'm pullin' West this afternoon on that blamed Twentieth 
Century." He tugged at his grip, got it open, and dipped 
into it with both his hands. "But don't forget, boys, when 
you-all want me to hornswoggle Wall Street another flutter, 
all you-all have to do is whisper the word. I'll sure be 
right there "with the goods." 

His hands emerged, clutching a great mass of stubs, 
check-books, and broker's receipts. These he deposited in 
a heap on the big table, and dipping again, he fished out the 
stragglers and added them to the pile. He consulted a 
slip of paper, drawn from his coat pocket, and read 
aloud: — 

"Ten million twenty-seven thousand and forty-two dol- 
lars and sixty-eight cents is my figurin' on my expenses. 
Of course that-all's taken from the winnings before we-all 
get to figurin' on the whack-up. Where's your figures? It 
must a' been a Goddle mighty big clean-up." 

The three men looked their bepuzzlement at one another. 
The man was a bigger fool than they had imagined, or else 
he was playing a game which they could not divine. 

Nathaniel Letton moistened his lips and spoke up. 

"It will take some hours yet, Mr, Harnish, before the full 
accounting can be made. Mr. Howison is at work upon it 
now. We — ah — as you say, it has been a gratifying 
clean-up. Suppose we have lunch together and talk it over. 



148 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

I'll have the clerks work through the noon hour, so that 
you will have ample time to catch your train." 

Dowsett and Guggenhammer manifested a relief that was 
almost obvious. The situation was clearing. It was dis- 
concerting, under the circumstances, to be pent in the same 
room with this heavy-muscled, Indian-like man whom they 
had robbed. They remembered unpleasantly the many 
stories of his strength and recklessness. If Letton could 
only put him off long enough for them to escape into the 
policed world outside the office door, all would be well; and 
Daylight showed all the signs of being put off. 

"I'm real glad to hear that," he said. "I don't want to 
miss that train, and you-all have done me proud, gentlemen, 
letting me in on this deal. I just do appreciate it without 
being able to express my feelings. But I am sure almighty 
curious, and I'd like terrible to know, Mr. Letton, what your 
figures of our winning is. Can you-all give me a rough 
estimate?'^ 

Nathaniel Letton did not look appealingly at his two 
friends, but in the brief pause they felt that appeal pass 
out from him. Dowsett, of sterner mould than the others, 
began to divine that the Klondiker was playing. But the 
other two were still under the blandishment of his child-like 
innocence. 

"It is extremely — er — difficult," Leon Guggenhammer 
began. "You see. Ward Valley has fluctuated so, er — " 

"That no estimate can possibly be made in advance," 
Letton supplemented. 

"Approximate it, approximate it," Daylight counselled 
cheerfully. "It don't hurt if you-all are a million or so out 
one side or the other. The figures '11 straighten that up. 
But I'm that curious I'm just itching all over. What d'ye 
say?" 

"Why continue to play at cross purposes?" Dowsett 
demanded abruptly and coldly. "Let us have the explana- 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 149 

tion here and now. Mr. Harnish is laboring under a false 
impression, and he should be set straight. In this deal — " 

But Daylight interrupted. He had played too much 
poker to be unaware or unappreciative of the psychological 
factor, and he headed Dowsett off in order to play the de- 
nouement of the present game in his own way. 

"Speaking of deals," he said, "reminds me of a poker 
game I once seen in Reno, Nevada. It wa'n't what you- 
all would call a square game. They-all was tin-horns that 
sat in. But they was a tenderfoot — short-horns they-all 
are called out there. He stands behind the dealer and sees 
that same dealer give hisself four aces off en the bottom of 
the deck. The tenderfoot is sure shocked. He slides 
around to the player facin' the dealer across the table. 

" 'Say,' he whispers, 'I seen the dealer deal hisself four 
aces.' 

" 'Well, an' what of it?' says the player. 

" 'I'm tryin' to tell you-all because I thought you-all 
ought to know,' says the tenderfoot. 'I tell you-all I seen 
him deal hisself four aces.' 

" 'Say, mister,' says the player, 'you-all 'd better get outa 
here. You-all don't understand the game. It's his deal, 
ain't it?' " 

The laughter that greeted his story was hollow and per- 
functory, but Daylight appeared not to notice it. 

"Your story has some meaning, I suppose," Dowsett 
said pointedly. 

Daylight looked at him innocently and did not reply. 
He turned jovially to Nathaniel Letton. 

"Fire away," he said. "Give us an approximation of 
our winning. As I said before, a million out one way or the 
other won't matter, it's bound to be such an almighty big 
winning." 

By this time Letton was stiffened by the attitude Dowsett 
had taken, and his answer was prompt and definite. 



150 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"I fear you are under a misapprehension, Mr. Harnish. 
There are no winnings to be divided with you. Now 
don't get excited, I beg of you. I have but to press this 
button . . ." 

Far from excited. Daylight had all the seeming of being 
stunned. He felt absently in his vest pocket for a match, 
lighted it, and discovered that he had no cigarette. The 
three men watched him with the tense closeness of cats. 
Now that it had come, they knew that they had a nasty few 
minutes before them. 

"Do you-all mind saying that over again?" Daylight 
said. "Seems to me I ain't got it just exactly right. You- 
all said . . . ?" 

He hung with painful expectancy on Nathaniel Letton's 
utterance. 

"I said you were under a misapprehension, Mr. Harnish, 
that was all. You have been stock gambling, and you have 
been hard hit. But neither Ward Valley, nor I, nor my 
associates, feel that we owe you anything." 

Daylight pointed at the heap of receipts and stubs on 
the table. 

"That-all represents ten million twenty-seven thousand 
and forty-two dollars and sixty-eight cents, hard cash. 
Ain't it good for anything here?" 

Letton smiled and shrugged his shoulders. 

Daylight looked at Dowsett and murmured: — 

"I guess that story of mine had some meaning, after 
all." He laughed in a sickly fashion. "It was your deal 
all right, and you-all dole them right, too. Well, I ain't 
kicking. I'm like the player in that poker game. It was 
your deal, and you-all had a right to do your best. And you 
done it — cleaned me out slicker'n a whistle." 

He gazed at the heap on the table with an air of stupe- 
faction. 

"And that-all ain't worth the paper it's written on. Gol 



BURNING DAYLIGHT l$l 

dast it, you-all can sure deal 'em 'round when you get a 
chance. Oh, no, I ain't a-kicking. It was your deal, and 
you-all certainly done me, and a man ain't half a man that 
squeals on another man's deal. And now the hand is played 
out, and the cards are on the table, and the deal's over, 
but . . ." 

His hand, dipping swiftly into his inside breast pocket, 
appeared with the big Colt's automatic. 

"As I was saying, the old deal's finished. Now it's my 
deal, and I'm a-going to see if I can hold them four aces — 

"Take your hand away, you whited sepulchre! " he cried 
sharply. 

Nathaniel Letton's hand, creeping toward the push-but- 
ton on the desk, was abruptly arrested. 

"Change cars," Daylight commanded. "Take that chair 
over there, you gangrene-livered skunk. Jump! By God! 
or I'll make you leak till folks '11 think your father was a 
water hydrant and your mother a sprinkling-cart. You-all 
move your chair alongside, Guggenhammer ; and you-all 
Dowsett, sit right there, while I just irrelevantly explain 
the virtues of this here automatic. She's loaded for big 
game and she goes off eight times. She's a sure hummer 
when she gets started. 

"Preliminary remarks being over, I now proceed to deal. 
Remember, I ain't making no remarks about your deal. 
You done your darndest, and it was all right. But this is 
my deal, and it's up to me to do my darndest. In the first 
place, you-all know me. I'm Burning Daylight — savvee? 
Ain't afraid of God, devil, death, nor destruction. Them's 
my four aces, and they sure copper your bets. Look at 
that there living skeleton. Letton, you're sure afraid to 
die. Your bones is all rattling together you're that scared. 
And look at that fat Jew there. This little weapon's sure 
put the fear of God in his heart. He's yellow as a sick 
persimmon. Dowsett, you're a cool one. You-all ain't 



152 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

batted an eye nor turned a hair. That's because you're 
great on arithmetic. And that makes you-all dead easy in 
this deal of mine. You're sitting there and adding two and 
two together, and you-all know I sure got you skinned. You 
know me, and that I ain't afraid oi nothing. And you-all 
adds up all your money and knows you ain't a-going to die 
if you can help it." 

"I'll see you hanged," was Dowsett's retort. 

"Not by a damned sight. When the fun starts, you're 
the first I plug. I'll hang all right, but you-all won't live 
to see it. You-all die here and now while I'll die subject 
to the law's delay — savvee? Being dead, with grass grow- 
ing out of your carcasses, you won't know when I hang, 
but I'll sure have the pleasure a long time of knowing you- 
all beat me to it." 

Daylight paused. 

"You surely wouldn't kill us?" Letton asked in a queer, 
thin voice. 

Daylight shook his head. 

"It's sure too expensive. You-all ain't worth it. I'd 
sooner have my chips back. And I guess you-all 'd sooner 
give my chips back than go to the dead-house." 

A long silence followed. 

"Well, I've done dealt. It's up to you-all to play. But 
while you're deliberating, I want to give you-all a warning: 
if that door opens and any one of you cusses lets on there's 
anything unusual, right here and then I sure start plugging. 
They ain't a soul '11 get out the room except feet first." 

A long session of three hours followed. The deciding 
factor was not the big automatic pistol, but the certitude 
that Daylight would use it. Not alone were the three men 
convinced of this, but Daylight himself was convinced. 
He was firmly resolved to kill the men if his money was not 
forthcoming. It was not an easy matter, on the spur of the 
moment, to raise ten millions in paper currency, and there 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 53 

were vexatious delays. A dozen times Mr. Howison and 
the head clerk were summoned into the room. On these 
occasions the pistol lay on Daylight's lap, covered care- 
lessly by a newspaper, while he was usually engaged in 
rolling or lighting his brown-paper cigarettes. But in the 
end, the thing was accomplished. A suit-case was brought 
up by one of the clerks from the waiting motor-car, and 
Daylight snapped it shut on the last package of bills. He 
paused at the door to make his final remarks, 

*' There's three several things I sure want to tell you-all. 
When I get outside this door, you-all '11 be set free to act, 
and I just want to warn you-all about what to do. In the 
first place, no warrants for my arrest — sawee? This 
money's mine, and I ain't robbed you of it. If it gets out 
how you gave me the double cross and how I done you back 
again, the laugh '11 be on you, and it'll sure be an almighty 
big laugh. You-all can't afford that laugh. Besides, having 
got back my stake that you-all robbed me of, if you arrest 
me and try to rob me a second time, I'll go gunning for you- 
all, and I'll sure get you. No httle fraid-cat shrimps like 
you-all can skin Burning Daylight. If you win you lose, 
and there'll sure be some several unexpected funerals 
around this burg. Just look me in the eye, and you-all '11 
sawee I mean business. Them stubs and receipts on the 
table is all yourn. Good day." 

As the door shut behind him, Nathaniel Letton sprang 
for the telephone, and Dowsett intercepted him, 

"What are you going to do?" Dowsett demanded. 

"The police. It's downright robbery. I won't stand it. 
I tell you I won't stand it." 

Dowsett smiled grimly, but at the same time bore the 
slender financier back and down into his chair. 

"We'll talk it over," he said; and in Leon Guggenham- 
mer he found an anxious ally. 

And nothing ever came of it. The thing remained a 



154 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

secret with the three men. Nor did DayHght ever give 
the secret away, though that afternoon, leaning back in his 
stateroom on the Twentieth Century, his shoes off, and feet 
on a chair, he chuckled long and heartily. New York 
remained forever puzzled over the affair; nor could it hit 
upon a rational explanation. By all rights. Burning Day- 
light should have gone broke, yet it was known that he 
immediately reappeared in San Francisco possessing an 
apparently unimpaired capital. This was evidenced by 
the magnitude of the enterprises he engaged in, such as, 
for instance, Panama Mail, by sheer weight of money and 
fighting power wresting the control away from Sheftly and 
selling out in two months to the Harriman interests at a 
rumored enormous advance. 



CHAPTER V 

Back in San Francisco, Daylight quickly added to his 
reputation. In ways it was not an enviable reputation. 
Men were afraid of him. He became known as a fighter, 
a fiend, a tiger. His play was a ripping and smashing one, 
and no one knew where or how his next blow would fall. 
The element of surprise was large. He balked on the 
unexpected, and, fresh from the wild North, his mind not 
operating in stereotyped channels, he was able in unusual 
degree to devise new tricks and stratagems. And once he 
won the advantage, he pressed it remorselessly. "As re- 
lentless as a Red Indian," was said of him, and it was said 
truly. 

On the other hand, he was known as "square." His 
word was as good as his bond, and this despite the fact that 
he accepted nobody's word. He always shied at proposi- 
tions based on gentlemen's agreements, and a man who 
ventured his honor as a gentleman, in dealing with Day- 
light, inevitably was treated to an unpleasant time. Day- 
light never gave his own word unless he held the whip-hand. 
It was a case with the other fellow taking it or nothing. 

Legitimate investment had no place in Daylight's play. 
It tied up his money, and reduced the element of risk. It 
was the gambling side of business that fascinated him, and 
to play in his slashing manner required that his money must 
be ready to hand. It was never tied up save for short 
intervals, for he was principally engaged in turning it over 
and over, raiding here, there, and everywhere, a veritable 
pirate of the financial main. A five-per cent safe invest- 
ment had no attraction for him; but to risk millions in a 

155 



IS6 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

sharp, harsh skirmish, standing to lose everything or to win 
fifty or a hundred per cent, was the savor of life to him. 
He played according to the rules of the game, but he played 
mercilessly. When he got a man or a corporation down, 
and they squealed, he gouged no less hard. Appeals for 
financial mercy fell on deaf ears. He was a free lance, and 
had no friendly business associations. Such alliances as 
were formed from time to time were purely affairs of 
expediency, and he regarded his allies as men who would 
give him the double-cross or ruin him if a profitable chance 
presented. In spite of this point of view, he was faithful to 
his alHes. But he was faithful just as long as they were 
and no longer. The treason had to come from them, and 
then it was 'Ware Daylight. 

The business men and financiers of the Pacific coast 
never forgot the lesson of Charles KJinkner and the Cali- 
fornia & Altamont Trust Company. Klinkner was the 
president. In partnership with Daylight, the pair raided 
the San Jose Interurban. The powerful Lake Power & 
Electric Lighting corporation came to the rescue, and 
Klinkner, seeing what he thought was the opportunity, went 
over to the enemy in the thick of the pitched battle. Day- 
light lost three millions before he was done with it, and 
before he was done with it he saw the California & Altamont 
Trust Company hopelessly wrecked, and Charles Klinkner 
a suicide in a felon's cell. Not only did Daylight lose his 
grip on San Jose Interurban, but in the crash of his battle 
front he lost heavily all along the line. It was conceded by 
those competent to judge that he could have compromised 
and saved much. But, instead, he deliberately threw up 
the battle with San Jose Interurban and Lake Power, and, 
apparently defeated, with Napoleonic suddenness struck 
at Klinkner. It was the last unexpected thing KHnkner 
would have dreamed of, and Daylight knew it. He knew, 
further, that the California & Altamont Trust Company 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 157 

was an intrinsically sound institution, but that just then it 
was in a precarious condition due to KJinkner's speculations 
with its money. He knew, also, that in a few months the 
Trust Company would be more firmly on its feet than ever, 
thanks to those same speculations, and that if he were to 
strike he must strike immediately. "It's just that much 
money in pocket and a whole lot more," he was reported to 
have said in connection with his heavy losses. "It's just so 
much insurance against the future. Henceforth, men who 
go in with me on deals will think twice before they try to 
doublecross me, and then some." 

The reason for his savageness was that he despised the 
men with whom he played. He had a conviction that not 
one in a hundred of them was intrinsically square; and as 
for the square ones, he prophesied that, playing in a crooked 
game, they were sure to lose and in the long run go broke. 
His New York experience had opened his eyes. He tore 
the veils of illusion from the business game, and saw its 
nakedness. He generalized upon industry and society 
somewhat as follows: — 

Society, as organized, was a vast bunco game. There 
were many hereditary inefficients — men and women who 
were not weak enough to be confined in feeble-minded 
homes, but who were not strong enough to be aught else 
than hewers of wood and drawers of water. Then there 
were the fools who took the organized bunco game seriously, 
honoring and respecting it. They were easy game for the 
others, who saw clearly and knew the bunco game for what 
it was. 

Work, legitimate work, was the source of all wealth. 
That was to say, whether it was a sack of potatoes, a grand 
piano, or a seven-passenger touring car, it came into being 
only by the performance of work. Where the bunco came 
in was in the distribution of these things after labor had 
created them. He failed to see the horny-handed sons of 



158 BURNESTG DAYLIGHT 

toil enjoying grand pianos or riding in automobiles. How 
this came about was explained by the bunco. By tens of 
thousands and hundreds of thousands men sat up nights 
and schemed how they could get between the workers and 
the things the workers produced. These schemers were 
the business men. When they got between the worker and 
his product, they took a whack out of it for themselves. 
The size of the whack was determined by no rule of equity, 
but by their own strength and swinishness. It was always 
a case of "all the traffic can bear." He saw all men in the 
business game doing this. 

One day, in a mellow mood (induced by a string of cock- 
tails and a hearty lunch), he started a conversation with 
Jones, the elevator boy. Jones was a slender, mop-headed, 
man-grown, truculent flame of an individual who seemed to 
go out of his way to insult his passengers. It was this that 
attracted Daylight's interest, and he was not long in find- 
ing out what was the matter with Jones. He was a prole- 
tarian, according to his own aggressive classification, and 
he had wanted to write for a living. Failing to win with 
the magazines, and compelled to find himself in food and 
shelter, he had gone to the Httle valley of Petacha, not a 
hundred miles from Los Angeles. Here, toiling in the day- 
time, he planned to write and study at night. But the 
railroad charged all the traffic would bear. Petacha was a 
desert valley, and produced only three things: cattle, fire- 
wood, and charcoal. For freight to Los Angeles on a car- 
load of cattle the railroad charged eight dollars. This, 
Jones explained, was due to the fact that the cattle had legs 
and could be driven to Los Angeles at a cost equivalent to 
the charge per car load. But firewood had no legs, and the 
railroad charged just precisely twenty-four dollars a car 
load. 

This was a fine adjustment, for by working hammer-and- 
tongs through a twelve-hour day, after freight had been 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 159 

deducted from the selling price of the wood in Los Angeles, 
the wood-chopper received one dollar and sixty cents. Jones 
had thought to get ahead of the game by turning his wood 
into charcoal. His estimates were satisfactory. But the 
railroad also made estimates. It issued a rate of forty-two 
dollars a car on charcoal. At the end of three months, Jones 
went over his figures, and found that he was still making 
one dollar and sixty cents a day. 

"So I quit," Jones concluded. "I went hoboing for a 
year, and I got back at the railroads. Leaving out the little 
things, I came across the Sierras in the summer and touched 
a match to the snow-sheds. They only had a little thirty- 
thousand-dollar fire. I guess that squared up all balances 
due on Petacha." 

"Son, ain't you afraid to be turning loose such informa- 
tion?" Daylight gravely demanded. 

"Not on your life," quoth Jones. "They can't prove it. 
You could say I said so, and I could say I didn't say so, 
and a hell of a lot that evidence would amount to with a 
jury." 

Dayhght went into his office and meditated awhile. 
That was it: All the traffic would bear. From top to bottom, 
that was the rule of the game; and what kept the game 
going was the fact that a sucker was born every minute. 
If a Jones were born every minute, the game wouldn't last 
very long. Lucky for the players that the workers weren't 
Joneses. 

But there were other and larger phases of the game. 
Little business men, shopkeepers, and such ilk took what 
whack they could out of the product of the worker; but, 
after all, it was the large business men who formed the 
workers through the little business men. When all was 
said and done, the latter, like Jones in Petacha Valley, got 
no more than wages out of their whack. In truth, they 
were hired men for the large business men. Still again, 



l60 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

higher up, were the big fellows. They used vast and 
complicated paraphernalia for the purpose, on a large scale, 
of getting between hundreds of thousands of workers and 
their products. These men were not so much mere robbers 
as gamblers. And, not content with their direct winnings, 
being essentially gamblers, they raided one another. They 
called this feature of the game high finance. They were 
all engaged primarily in robbing the worker, but every 
little while they formed combinations and robbed one an- 
other of the accumulated loot. This explained the fifty- 
thousand-dollar raid on him by Holdsworthy and the 
ten-milhon-dollar raid on him by Dowsett, Letton, and 
Guggenhammer. And when he raided Panama Mail he 
had done exactly the same thing. Well, he concluded, it 
was finer sport robbing the robbers than robbing the poor 
stupid workers. 

Thus, all unread in philosophy, Daylight preempted for 
himself the position and vocation of a twentieth-century 
superman. He found, with rare and mythical exceptions, 
that there was no noblesse oblige among the business and 
financial supermen. As a clever traveller had announced in 
an after-dinner speech at the Alta-Pacific, "There was 
honor amongst thieves, and this was what distinguished 
thieves from honest men." That was it. It hit the nail 
on the head. These modern supermen were a lot of sordid 
banditti who had the successful effrontery to preach a code 
of right and wrong to their victims which they themselves 
did not practise. With them, a man's word was good just 
as long as he was compelled to keep it. Thou shall not steal 
was only applicable to the honest worker. They, the super- 
men, were above such commandments. They certainly stole 
and were honored by their fellows according to the magni- 
tude of their stealings. 

The more Daylight played the game, the clearer the sit- 
uation grew. Despite the fact that every robber was keen 



BURNING DAYLIGHT l6l 

to rob every other robber, the band was well organized. It 
practically controlled the political machinery of society, 
from the ward politician up to the Senate of the United 
States. It passed laws that gave it privilege to rob. It 
enforced these laws by means of the police, the marshals, 
the militia and regular army, and the courts. And it was a 
snap. A superman's chiefest danger was his fellow-super- 
man. The great stupid mass of the people did not count. 
They were constituted of such inferior clay that the veriest 
chicanery fooled them. The superman manipulated the 
strings, and when robbery of the workers became too slow 
or monotonous, they turned loose and robbed one another. 

Daylight was philosophical, but not a philosopher. He 
had never read the books. He was a hard-headed, practical 
man, and farthest from him was any intention of ever read- 
ing the books. He had lived life in the simple, where books 
were not 'necessary for an understanding of life, and now 
life in the complex appeared just as simple. He saw 
through its frauds and fictions, and found it as elemental as 
on the Yukon. Men were made of the same stuff. They had 
the same passions and desires. Finance was poker on a 
larger scale. The men who played were the men who had 
stakes. The workers were the fellows toiling for grub- 
stakes. He saw the game played out according to the 
everlasting rules, and he played a hand himself. The gi- 
gantic futility of humanity organized and befuddled by the 
bandits did not shock him. It was the natural order. Prac- 
tically all human endeavors were futile. He had seen so 
much of it. His partners had starved and died on the Stew- 
art. Hundreds of old-timers had failed to locate on Bon- 
anza and Eldorado, while Swedes and chechaquos had come 
in on the moose-pasture and blindly staked millions. It was 
life, and life was a savage proposition at best. Men in 
civilization robbed because they were so made. They 
robbed just as cats scratched, famine pinched, and frost bit. 



1 62 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

So it was that Daylight became a successful financier. 
He did not go in for swindling the workers. Not only did 
he not have the heart for it, but it did not strike him as a 
sporting proposition. The workers were so easy, so stupid. 
It was more like slaughtering fat, hand-reared pheasants 
on the English preserves he had heard about. The sport, 
to him, was in waylaying the successful robbers and taking 
their spoils from them. There was fun and excitement in 
that, and sometimes they put up the very devil of a fight. 
Like Robin Hood of old, Daylight proceeded to rob the rich, 
and, in a small way, to distribute to the needy. But he 
was charitable after his own fashion. The great mass of 
human misery meant nothing to him. That was part of the 
everlasting order. He had no patience with the organized 
charities and the professional charity mongers. Nor, on 
the other hand, was what he gave a conscience dole. He 
owed no man, and restitution was unthinkable. What 
he gave was a largess, a free, spontaneous gift; and it was 
for those about him. He never contributed to an earth- 
quake fund in Japan nor to an open-air fund in New York 
City. Instead, he financed Jones, the elevator boy, for a 
year that he might write a book. When he learned that 
the wife of his waiter at the St. Francis was suffering from 
tuberculosis, he sent her to Arizona, and later, when her 
case was declared hopeless, he sent the husband, too, to be 
with her to the end. Likewise, he bought a string of horse- 
hair bridles from a convict in a Western penitentiary, who 
spread the good news until it seemed to Daylight that half 
the convicts in that institution were making bridles for him. 
He bought them all, paying from twenty to fifty dollars 
each for them. They were beautiful and honest things, 
and he decorated all the available wall-space of his bedroom 
with them. 

The grim Yukon life had failed to make Daylight hard. 
It required civilization to produce this result. In the fierce, 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 63 

savage game he now played, his habitual geniality imper- 
ceptibly slipped away from him, as did his lazy Western 
drawl. As his speech became sharp and nervous, so did 
his mental processes. In the swift rush of the game he 
found less and less time to spend on being merely good- 
natured. The change marked his face itself. The lines 
grew sterner. Less often appeared the playful curl of his 
lips, the smile in the wrinkling corners of his eyes. The 
eyes themselves, black and flashing, like an Indian's, be- 
trayed glints of cruelty and brutal consciousness of power. 
His tremendous vitality remained, and radiated from all his 
being, but it was vitality under the new aspect of the man- 
trampling man-conqueror. His battles with elemental na- 
ture had been, in a way, impersonal; his present battles 
were wholly with the males of his species, and the hardships 
of the trail, the river, and the frost marred him far less than 
the bitter keenness of the struggle with his fellows. 

He still had recrudescences of geniality, but they were 
largely periodical and forced, and they were usually due to 
the cocktails he took prior to meal-time. In the North, he 
had drunk deeply and at irregular intervals; but now his 
drinking became systematic and disciplined. It was an 
unconscious development, but it was based upon physical 
and mental condition. The cocktails served as an inhibi- 
tion. Without reasoning or thinking about it, the strain of 
the office, which was essentially due to the daring and 
audacity of his ventures, required check or cessation; and 
he found, through the weeks and months, that the cocktails 
supplied this very thing. They constituted a stone wall. 
He never drank during the morning, nor in office hours; 
but the instant he left the office he proceeded to rear this 
wall of alcoholic inhibition athwart his consciousness. The 
office became immediately a closed affair. It ceased to 
exist. In the afternoon, after lunch, it lived again for one 
or two hours, when, leaving it, he rebuilt the wall of inhi- 



1 64 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

bition. Of course, there were exceptions to this; and, such 
was the rigor of his discipline, that if he had a dinner or a 
conference before him in which, in a business way, he en- 
countered enemies or allies and planned or prosecuted cam- 
paigns, he abstained from drinking. But the instant the 
business was settled, his everlasting call went out for a 
Martini, and for a double-Martini at that, served in a long 
glass so as not to excite comment. 



Tieat niij kind 7 
and rovuin mo Ij 

GERSHMAN 



CHAPTER VI 

Into Daylight's life came Dede Mason. She came rather 
imperceptibly. He had accepted her impersonally along 
with the office furnishing, the office boy, Morrison, the 
chief, confidential, and only clerk, and all the rest of the 
accessories of a superman's gambling place of business. 
Had he been asked any time during the first months she 
was in his employ, he would have been unable to tell the 
color of her eyes. From the fact that she was a demi- 
blonde, there resided dimly in his subconsciousness a con- 
ception that she was a brunette. Likewise he had an idea 
that she was not thin, while there was an absence in his mind 
of any idea that she was fat. As to how she dressed, he had 
no ideas at all. He had no trained eye in such matters, nor 
was he interested. He took it for granted, in the lack of 
any impression to the contrary, that she was dressed some- 
how. He knew her as "Miss Mason," and that was all, 
though he was aware that as a stenographer she seemed quick 
and accurate. This impression, however, was quite vague, 
for he had had no experience with other stenographers, and 
naturally believed that they were all quick and accurate. 

One morning, signing up letters, he came upon an / 
shall. Glancing quickly over the page for similar construc- 
tions, he found a number of / wills. The / shall was alone. 
It stood out conspicuously. He pressed the call-bell twice, 
and a moment later Dede Mason entered. 

"Did I say that, Miss Mason?" he asked, extending the 
letter to her and pointing out the criminal phrase. 

A shade of annoyance crossed her face. She stood con- 
victed. 

165 



1 66 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"My mistake," she said. "I am sorry. But it's not a 
mistake, you know," she added quickly. 

"How do you make that out?" challenged Daylight. 
"It sure don't sound right, in my way of thinking." 

She had reached the door by this time, and now turned, 
the offending letter in her hand. 

"It's right just the same." 

"But that would make all those / "wills wrong, then," he 
argued. 

"It does," was her audacious answer. "Shall I change 
them?" 

"/ shall be over to look that affair up on Monday." Day- 
light repeated the sentence from the letter aloud. He did it 
with a grave, serious air, listening intently to the sound of 
his own voice. He shook his head. "It don't sound right, 
Miss Mason. It just don't sound right. Why, nobody 
writes to me that way. They all say / will — educated 
men, too, some of them. Ain't that so?" 

"Yes," she acknowledged, and passed out to her machine 
to make the correction. 

It chanced that day that among the several men with 
whom he sat at luncheon was a young Englishman, a min- 
ing engineer. Had it happened any other time it would 
have passed unnoticed, but, fresh from the tilt with his 
stenographer. Daylight was struck immediately by the 
Englishman's / shall. Several times, in the course of the 
meal, the phrase was repeated, and Daylight was certain 
there was no mistake about it. 

After luncheon he cornered Mcintosh, one of the mem- 
bers whom he knew to have been a college man, because 
of his football reputation. 

"Look here. Bunny," Daylight demanded, "which is 
right, / shall be over to look that affair up on Monday, or 
I will be over to look that affair up on Monday?" 

The ex- football captain debated painfully for a minute. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 67 

"Blessed if I know," he confessed. "Which way do I 
say it?" 

"Oh, / will, of course." 

"Then the other is right, depend upon it. I always was 
rotten on grammar." 

On the way back to the office. Daylight dropped into a 
bookstore and bought a grammar; and for a solid hour, his 
feet up on the desk, he toiled through its pages. 

"Knock off my head with little apples if the girl ain't 
right," he communed aloud at the end of the session. 
For the first time it struck him that there was something 
about his stenographer. He had accepted her up to then, 
as a female creature and a bit of office furnishing. But 
now, having demonstrated that she knew more grammar 
than did business men and college graduates, she became an 
individual. She seemed to stand out in his consciousness 
as conspicuously as the / shall had stood out on the typed 
page, and he began to take notice. 

He managed to watch her leaving that afternoon, and he 
was aware for the first time that she was well-formed, and 
that her manner of dress was satisfying. He knew none of 
the details of women's dress, and he saw none of the details 
of her neat shirt-waist and well-cut tailor suit. He saw 
only the effect in a general, sketchy way. She looked right. 
This was in the absence of anything wrong or out of the 
way. 

"She's a trim little good-looker," was his verdict, when 
the outer office door closed on her. 

The next morning, dictating, he concluded that he liked 
the way she did her hair, though for the life of him he could 
have given no description of it. The impression was pleas- 
ing, that was all. She sat between him and the window, 
and he noted that her hair was light brown, with hints of 
golden bronze. A pale sun, shining in, touched the golden 
bronze into smouldering fires that were very pleasing to 



l68 BUKNING DAYLIGHT 

behold. Funny, he thought, that he had never observed 
this phenomenon before. 

In the midst of the letter he came to the construction 
which had caused the trouble the day before. He remem- 
bered his wrestle with the grammar, and dictated: — 

"I shall meet you halfway in this proposition — " 

Miss Mason gave a quick look up at him. The action 
was purely involuntary, and, in fact, had been half a startle 
of surprise. The next instant her eyes had dropped again, 
and she sat waiting to go on with the dictation. But in 
that moment of her glance Daylight had noted that her 
eyes were gray. He was later to learn that at times there 
were golden lights in those same gray eyes ; but he had seen 
enough, as it was, to surprise him, for he became suddenly 
aware that he had always taken her for a brunette with 
brown eyes, as a matter of course. 

"You were right, after all," he confessed, with a sheep- 
ish grin that sat incongruously on his stern, Indian-like 
features. 

Again he was rewarded by an upward glance and an 
acknowledging smile, and this time he verified the fact that 
her eyes were gray. 

"But it don't sound right, just the same," he complained. 

At this she laughed outright. 

"I beg your pardon," she hastened to make amends, 
and then spoiled it by adding, "but you are so funny." 

Daylight began to feel a slight awkwardness, and the 
sun would persist in setting her hair a-smouldering. 

"I didn't mean to be funny," he said. 

"That was why I laughed. But it is right, and perfectly 
good grammar." 

"All right," he sighed — "/ shall meet you halfway in 
this proposition — got that?" 

And the dictation went on. 

He discovered that in the intervals, when she had nothing 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 69 

to do, she read books and magazines, or worked on some 
sort of feminine fancy work. 

Passing her desk, once, he picked up a volume of Kip- 
ling's poems and glanced bepuzzled through the pages. 

"You Hke reading, Miss Mason?" he said, laying the 
book down. 

"Oh, yes," was her answer; "very much." 

Another time it was a book of Wells', The Wheels of 
Chance. 

"What's it all about?" Daylight asked. 

"Oh, it's just a novel, a love-story." 

She stopped, but he still stood waiting, and she felt it 
incumbent to go on. 

"It's about a little Cockney draper's assistant, who takes 
a vacation on his bicycle, and falls in with a young girl very 
much above him. Her mother is a popular writer and all 
that. And the situation is very curious, and sad, too, and 
tragic. Would you care to read it?" 

"Does he get her?" Daylight demanded. 

"No; that's the point of it. He wasn't — " 

"And he doesn't get her, and you've read all them pages, 
hundreds of them, to find that out?" Daylight muttered 
in amazement. 

Miss Mason was nettled as well as amused. 

"But you read the mining and financial news by the 
hour," she retorted. 

"But I sure get something out of that. It's business, 
and it's different. I get money out of it. What do you get 
out of books?" 

"Points of view, new ideas, life." 

"Not worth a cent cash." 

"But life's worth more than cash," she argued. 

"Oh, well," he said, with easy masculine tolerance, "so 
long as you enjoy it. That's what counts, I suppose; and 
there's no accounting for taste." 



170 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Despite his own superior point of view, he had an idea 
that she knew a lot, and he experienced a fleeting feehng 
Hke that of a barbarian face to face with the evidence of 
some tremendous culture. To Daylight culture was a 
worthless thing, and yet, somehow, he was vaguely troubled 
by a sense that there was more in culture than he imagined. 

Again, on her desk, in passing, he noticed a book with 
which he was familiar. This time he did not stop, for he 
had recognized the cover. It was a magazine correspond- 
ent's book on the Klondike, and he knew that he and his 
photograph figured in it, and he knew, also, of a certain 
sensational chapter concerned with a woman's suicide, and 
with one "Too much Daylight." 

After that he did not talk with her again about books. 
He imagined what erroneous conclusions she had drawn 
from that particular chapter, and it stung him the more 
in that they were undeserved. Of all unlikely things, to 
have the reputation of being a lady-killer, — he. Burning 
Daylight, — and to have a woman kill herself out of love 
for him! He felt that he was a most unfortunate man, 
and wondered by what luck that one book of all the thou- 
sands of books should have fallen into his stenographer's 
hands. For some days afterward he had an uncomfortable 
sensation of guiltiness whenever he was in Miss Mason's 
presence; and once he was positive that he caught her 
looking at him with a curious, intent gaze, as if studying 
what manner of man he was. 

He pumped Morrison, the clerk, who had first to vent his 
personal grievance against Miss Mason before he could tell 
what httle he knew of her. 

"She comes from Siskiyou County. She's very nice to 
work with in the office, of course, but she's rather stuck on 
herself — exclusive, you know." 

"How do you make that out?" Daylight queried. 

"Well, she thinks too much of herself to associate with 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 17I 

those she works with, in the office here, for instance. She 
won't have anything to do with a fellow, you see. I've 
asked her out repeatedly, to the theatre and the chutes and 
such things. But nothing doing. Says she likes plenty of 
sleep, and can't stay up late, and has to go all the way to 
Berkeley — that's where she lives." 

This phase of the report gave Daylight a distinct satis- 
faction. She was a bit above the ordinary, and no doubt 
about it. But Morrison's next words carried a hurt. 

"But that's all hot air. She's running with the Univer- 
sity boys, that's what she's doing. She needs lots of sleep, 
and can't go to the theatre with me, but she can dance all 
hours with them. I've heard it pretty straight that she 
goes to all their hops and such things. Rather stylish and 
high-toned for a stenographer, I'd say. And she keeps a 
horse, too. She rides astride all over those hills out there. 
I saw her one Sunday myself. Oh, she's a high-flyer, and 
I wonder how she does it. Sixty-five a month don't go far. 
Then she has a sick brother, too." 

"Live with her people?" Daylight asked. 

"No; hasn't got any. They were well to do, I've heard. 
They must have been, or that brother of hers couldn't have 
gone to the University of California. Her father had a big 
cattle-ranch, but he got to fooling with mines or something, 
and went broke before he died. Her mother died long 
before that. Her brother must cost a lot of money. He 
was a husky once, played football, was great on hunting and 
being out in the mountains and such things. He got his 
accident breaking horses, and then rheumatism or some- 
thing got into him. One leg is shorter than the other and 
withered up some. He has to walk on crutches. I saw her 
out with him once — crossing the ferry. The doctors have 
been experimenting on him for years, and he's in the French 
Hospital now, I think." 

All of which side-lights on Miss Mason went to increase 



172 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Daylight's interest in her. Yet, much as he desired, he 
failed to get acquainted with her. He had thoughts of 
asking her to luncheon, but his was the innate chivalry of 
the frontiersman, and the thoughts never came to anything. 
He knew a self-respecting, square-dealing man was not 
supposed to take his stenographer to luncheon. Such 
things did happen, he knew, for he heard the chaffing gossip 
of the club; but he did not think much of such men and 
felt sorry for the girls. He had a strange notion that a man 
had less rights over those he employed than over mere 
acquaintances or strangers. Thus, had Miss Mason not 
been his employee, he was confident that he would have had 
her to luncheon or the theatre in no time. But he felt that 
it was an imposition for an employer, because he bought 
the time of an employee in working hours, to presume in 
any way upon any of the rest of that employee's time. 
To do so was to act like a bully. The situation was unfair. 
It was taking advantage of the fact that the employee was 
dependent on one for a livelihood. The employee might 
permit the imposition through fear of angering the employer 
and not through any personal inclination at all. 

In his own case he felt that such an imposition would be 
peculiarly obnoxious, for had she not read that cursed 
Klondike correspondent's book? A pretty idea she must 
have of him, a girl that was too high-toned to have any- 
thing to do with a good-looking, gentlemanly fellow like 
Morrison. Also, and down under all his other reasons, 
Daylight was timid. The only thing he had ever been 
afraid of in his life was woman, and he had been afraid all 
his life. Nor was that timidity to be put easily to flight 
now that he felt the first glimmering need and desire for 
woman. The spectre of the apron-string still haunted him, 
and helped him to find excuses for getting on no forwarder 
with Dede Mason. 



CHAPTER VII 

Not being favored by chance in getting acquainted with 
Dede Mason, Daylight's interest in her slowly waned. 
This was but natural, for he was plunged deep in hazardous 
operations, and the fascinations of the game and the 
magnitude of it accounted for all the energy that even his 
magnificent organism could generate. Such was his absorp- 
tion that the pretty stenographer slowly and imperceptibly 
faded from the forefront of his consciousness. Thus, the 
first faint spur, in the best sense, of his need for woman 
ceased to prod. So far as Dede Mason was concerned, he 
possessed no more than a complacent feeling of satisfaction 
in that he had a very nice stenographer. 

And, completely to put the quietus on any last lingering 
hopes he might have had of her, he was in the thick of his 
spectacular and intensely bitter fight with the Coastwise 
Steam Navigation Company, and the Hawaiian, Nicara- 
guan, and Pacific-Mexican Steamship Company. He 
stirred up a bigger muss than he had anticipated, 
and even he was astounded at the wide ramifications 
of the struggle and at the unexpected and incongruous 
interests that were drawn into it. Every newspaper 
in San Francisco turned upon him. It was true, one 
or two of them had first intimated that they were open 
to subsidization, but Daylight's judgment was that the 
situation did not warrant such expenditure. Up to this time 
the press had been amusingly tolerant and good-naturedly 
sensational about him, but now he was to learn what virulent 
scurrilousness an antagonized press was capable of. Every 
episode of his life was resurrected to serve as foundations 

173 



174 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

for malicious fabrications. Daylight was frankly amazed at 
the new interpretation put upon all he had accomplished and 
the deeds he had done. From an Alaskan hero he was meta- 
morphosed into an Alaskan bully, liar, desperado, and all- 
around "bad man." Not content with this, lies upon lies, 
out of whole cloth, were manufactured about him. He 
never replied, though once he went to the extent of disbur- 
dening his mind to half a dozen reporters. 

"Do your damnedest," he told them. "Burning Day- 
light's bucked bigger things than your dirty, lying sheets. 
And I don't blame you, boys . . . that is, not much. You 
can't help it. You've got to live. There's a mighty lot of 
women in this world that make their living in similar fash- 
ion to yours, because they're not able to do anything better. 
Somebody's got to do the dirty work, and it might as well 
be you. You're paid for it, and you ain't got the backbone 
to rustle cleaner jobs." 

The sociahst press of the city jubilantly exploited this 
utterance, scattering it broadcast over San Francisco in 
tens of thousands of paper dodgers. And the journalists, 
stung to the quick, retaliated with the only means in their 
power — printer's ink abuse. The attack became bitterer 
than ever. The whole affair sank to the deeper deeps of 
rancor and savageness. The poor woman who had killed 
herself was dragged out of her grave and paraded on thou- 
sands of reams of paper as a martyr and a victim to Day- 
light's ferocious brutality. Staid, statistical articles were 
published, proving that he had made his start by robbing 
poor miners of their claims, and that the capstone to his 
fortune had been put in place by his treacherous violation 
of faith with the Guggenhammers in the deal on Ophir. 
And there were editorials written in which he was called 
an enemy of society, possessed of the manners and culture of 
a caveman, a fomenter of wasteful business troubles, the 
destroyer of the city's prosperity in commerce and trade, 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 175 

an anarchist of dire menace; and one editorial gravely 
recommended that hanging would be a lesson to him and 
his ilk, and concluded with the fervent hope that some 
day his big motor-car would smash up and smash him 
with it. 

He was like a big bear raiding a bee-hive and, regardless 
of the stings, he obstinately persisted in pawing for the 
honey. He gritted his teeth and struck back. Beginning 
with a raid on two steamship companies, it developed into 
a pitched battle with a city, a state, and a continental coast- 
line. Very well; they wanted fight, and they would get 
it. It was what he wanted, and he felt justified in having 
come down from the Klondike, for here he was gambling 
at a bigger table than ever the Yukon had supplied. 
AUied with him, on a splendid salary, with princely 
pickings thrown in, was a lawyer, Larry Hegan, a 
young Irishman with a reputation to make, and whose 
peculiar genius had been unrecognized until Daylight 
picked up with him. Hegan had Celtic imagination and 
daring, and to such degree that Daylight's cooler head was 
necessary as a check on his wilder visions. Hegan's was 
a Napoleonic legal mind, without balance, and it was just 
this balance that Daylight supplied. Alone, the Irishman 
was doomed to failure, but directed by Daylight, he was 
on the highroad to fortune and recognition. Also, he was 
possessed of no more personal or civic conscience than 
Napoleon. 

It was Hegan who guided Daylight through the intri- 
cacies of modern politics, labor organization, and commer- 
cial and corporation law. It was Hegan, prolific of resource 
and suggestion, who opened Daylight's eyes to undreamed 
possibilities in twentieth-century warfare; and it was 
Daylight, rejecting, accepting, and elaborating, who planned 
the campaigns and prosecuted them. With the Pacific 
coast, from Puget Sound to Panama, buzzing and humming, 



176 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

and with San Francisco furiously about his ears, the two 
big steamship companies had all the appearance of winning. 
It looked as if Burning Daylight was being beaten slowly to 
his knees. And then he struck — at the steamship com- 
panies, at San Francisco, at the whole Pacific coast. 

It was not much of a blow at first. A Christian Endeavor 
convention being held in San Francisco, a row was started 
by Express Drivers' Union No. 927 over the handling of a 
small heap of baggage at the Ferry Building. A few heads 
were broken, a score of arrests made, and the baggage was 
delivered. No one would have guessed that behind this 
petty wrangle was the fine Irish hand of Hegan, made potent 
by the Klondike gold of Burning Daylight. It was an 
insignificant affair at best — or so it seemed. But the 
Teamsters' Union took up the quarrel, backed by the 
whole Water Front Federation. Step by step, the strike 
became involved. A refusal of cooks and waiters to serve 
scab teamsters or teamsters' employers brought out the 
cooks and waiters. The butchers and meat-cutters refused 
to handle meat destined for unfair restaurants. The com- 
bined Employers' Associations put up a soUd front, and 
found facing them the 40,000 organized laborers of San 
Francisco. The restaurant bakers and the bakery wagon 
drivers struck, followed by the milkers, milk drivers, and 
chicken pickers. The building trades asserted its position 
in unambiguous terms, and all San Francisco was in turmoil. 

But still, it was only San Francisco. Hegan's intrigues 
were masterly, and Daylight's campaign steadily developed. 
The powerful fighting organization known as the Pacific 
Slope Seaman's Union refused to work vessels the cargoes 
of which were to be handled by scab longshoremen and 
freight-handlers. The union presented its ultimatum, and 
then called a strike. This had been Daylight's objective 
all the time. Every incoming coastwise vessel was boarded 
by the union officials and its crew sent ashore. And with the 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 177 

seamen went the firemen, the engineers, and the sea cooks 
and waiters. Daily the number of idle steamers increased. 
It was impossible to get scab crews, for the men of the 
Seaman's Union were fighters trained in the hard school of 
the sea, and when they went out it meant blood and death 
to scabs. This phase of the strike spread up and down the 
entire Pacific coast, until all the ports were filled with idle 
ships, and sea transportation was at a standstill. The days 
and weeks dragged out, and the strike held. The Coast- 
wise Steam Navigation Company, and the Hawaiian, 
Nicaraguan, and Pacific-Mexican Steamship Company 
were tied up completely. The expenses of combating the 
strike were tremendous, and they were earning nothing, 
while daily the situation went from bad to worse, until 
"peace at any price" became the cry. And still there was 
no peace, until Dayhght and his allies played out their 
hand, raked in the winnings, and allowed a goodly portion 
of a continent to resume business. 

It was noted, in following years, that several leaders of 
workmen built themselves houses and blocks of renting flats 
and took trips to the old countries, while, more immediately, 
other leaders and "dark horses" came to political prefer- 
ment and the control of the municipal government and the 
municipal moneys. In fact, San Francisco's boss-ridden 
condition was due in greater degree to Daylight's wide- 
spreading battle than even San Francisco ever dreamed. 
For the part he had played, the details of which were prac- 
tically all rumor and guesswork, quickly leaked out, and 
in consequence he became a much-execrated and well- 
hated man. Nor had Daylight himself dreamed that his 
raid on the steamship companies would have grown to such 
colossal proportions. 

But he had got what he was after. He had played an 
exciting hand and won, beating the steamship companies 
down into the dust and mercilessly robbing the stockholders 



iyS BURNING DAYLIGHT 

by perfectly legal methods before he let go. Of course, in 
addition to the large sums of money he had paid over, his 
aUies had rewarded themselves by gobbling the advantages 
which later enabled them to loot the city. His alliance 
with a gang of cutthroats had brought about a lot of cut- 
throating. But his conscience suffered no twinges. He 
remembered what he had once heard an old preacher utter, 
namely, that they who rose by the sword perished by the 
sword. One took his chances when he played with cut- 
throats, and his, Daylight's, throat was still intact. That 
was it! And he had won. It was all gamble and war 
between the strong men. The fools did not count. They 
were always getting hurt; and that they always had been 
getting hurt was the conclusion he drew from what little 
he knew of history. San Francisco had wanted war, and 
he had given it war. It was the game. All the big fellows 
did the same, and they did much worse, too. 

"Don't talk to me about morality and civic duty," he 
replied to a persistent interviewer. "If you quit your job 
to-morrow and went to work on another paper, you would 
write just what you were told to write. It's morality and 
civic duty now with you ; on the new job it would be backing 
up a thieving railroad with . . . morality and civic duty, 
I suppose. Your price, my son, is just about thirty per 
week. That's what you sell for. But your paper would 
sell for a bit more. Pay its price to-day, and it would shift 
its present rotten policy to some other rotten policy; but 
it would never let up on morality and civic duty. 

"And all because a sucker is born every minute. So 
long as the people stand for it, they'll get it good and plenty, 
my son. And the shareholders and business interests might 
as well shut up squawking about how much they've been 
hurt. You never hear ary squeal out of them when they've 
got the other fellow down and are gouging him. This is 
the time they got gouged, and that's all there is to it. Talk 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 79 

about mollycoddles! Son, those same fellows would steal 
crusts from starving men and pull gold fillings from the 
mouths of corpses, yep, and squawk like Sam Scratch if 
some blamed corpse hit back. They're all tarred with the 
same brush, little and big. Look at your Sugar Trust — 
with all its millions stealing water like a common thief from 
New York City, and short-weighing the government on its 
foney scales. Morality and civic duty! Son, forget it." 



CHAPTER VIII 

Daylight's coming to civilization had not improved 
him. True, he wore better clothes, had learned slightly 
better manners, and spoke better English. As a gambler 
and a man-trampler he had developed remarkable efficiency. 
Also, he had become used to a higher standard of living, and 
he had whetted his wits to razor sharpness in the fierce, 
complicated struggle of fighting males. But he had hard- 
ened, and at the expense of his old-time, whole-souled 
geniaUty. Of the essential refinements of civilization he 
knew nothing. He did not know they existed. He had 
become cynical, bitter, and brutal. Power had its effect 
on him that it had on all men. Suspicious of the big ex- 
ploiters, despising the fools of the exploited herd, he had 
faith only in himself. This led to an undue and erroneous 
exaltation of his ego, while kindly consideration of others 
— nay, even simple respect — was destroyed, until naught 
was left for him but to worship at the shrine of self. 

Physically, he was not the man of iron muscles who had 
come down out of the Arctic. He did not exercise suffi- 
ciently, ate more than was good for him, and drank alto- 
gether too much. His muscles were getting flabby, and 
his tailor called attention to his increasing waistband. In 
fact. Daylight was developing a definite paunch. This 
physical deterioration was manifest likewise in his face. 
The lean Indian visage was suffering a city change. The 
slight hollows in the cheeks under the high cheek-bones had 
filled out. The beginning of puff-sacks under the eyes 
was faintly visible. The girth of the neck had increased, 
and the first crease and fold of a double chin were becoming 

1 80 



BURNING DAYLIGHT l8l 

plainly discernible. The old effect of asceticism, bred of 
terrific hardships and toil, had vanished; the features had 
become broader and heavier, betraying all the stigmata of 
the life he lived, advertising the man's self-indulgence, 
harshness, and brutality. 

Even his human affiliations were descending. Playing 
a lone hand, contemptuous of most of the men with whom 
he played, lacking in sympathy or understanding of them, 
and certainly independent of them, he found little in com- 
mon with those to be encountered, say at the Alta-Pacific. 
In point of fact, when the battle with the steamship com- 
panies was at its height and his raid was inflicting incalcu- 
lable damage on all business interests, he had been asked to 
resign from the Alta-Pacific. The idea had been rather to 
his liking, and he had found new quarters in clubs like the 
Riverside, organized and practically maintained by the city 
bosses. He found that he really liked such men better. 
They were more primitive and simple, and they did not 
put on airs. They were honest buccaneers, frankly in the 
game for what they could get out of it, on the surface more 
raw and savage, but at least not glossed over with oily or 
graceful hypocrisy. The Alta-Pacific had suggested that 
his resignation be kept a private matter, and then had 
privily informed the newspapers. The latter had made 
great capital out of the forced resignation, but Daylight had 
grinned and silently gone his way, though registering a black 
mark against more than one club member who was des- 
tined to feel, in the days to come, the crushing weight of 
the Klondiker's financial paw. 

The storm-centre of a combined newspaper attack lasting 
for months. Daylight's character had been torn to shreds. 
There was no fact in his history that had not been distorted 
into a criminality or a vice. This public making of him 
over into an iniquitous monster had pretty well crushed 
any Hngering hope he had of getting acquainted with Dede 



1 82 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Mason. He felt that there was no chance for her ever to 
look kindly on a man of his caliber, and, beyond increasing 
her salary to seventy-five dollars a month, he proceeded 
gradually to forget about her. The increase was made 
known to her through Morrison, and later she thanked 
Daylight, and that was the end of it. 

One week-end, feeling heavy and depressed and tired of 
the city and its ways, he obeyed the impulse of a whim that 
was later to play an important part in his life. The desire 
to get out of the city for a whiff of country air and for a 
change of scene was the cause. Yet, to himself, he made 
the excuse of going to Glen Ellen for the purpose of in- 
specting the brickyard with which Holdsworthy had gold- 
bricked him. 

He spent the night in the little country hotel, and on 
Sunday morning, astride a saddle-horse rented from the 
Glen Ellen butcher, rode out of the village. The brick- 
yard was close at hand on the flat beside the Sonoma Creek. 
The kilns were visible among the trees, when he glanced 
to the left and caught sight of a cluster of wooded knolls 
half a mile away, perched on the rolling slopes of Sonoma 
Mountain. The mountain, itself wooded, towered behind. 
The trees on the knolls seemed to beckon to him. The dry, 
early-summer air, shot through with sunshine, was wine to 
him. Unconsciously he drank it in in deep breaths. The 
prospect of the brickyard was uninviting. He was jaded 
with all things business, and the wooded knolls were calHng 
to him. A horse was between his legs — a good horse, he 
decided; one that sent him back to the cayuses he had 
ridden during his eastern Oregon boyhood. He had been 
somewhat of a rider in those early days, and the champ of 
bit and creak of saddle-leather sounded good to him now. 

Resolving to have his fun first, and to look over the brick- 
yard afterward, he rode on up the hill, prospecting for a 
way across country to get to the knolls. He left the coun- 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 83 

try road at the first gate he came to and cantered through 
a hayfield. The grain was waist-liigh on either side the 
wagon road, and he sniffed the warm aroma of it with 
delighted nostrils. Larks flew up before him, and from 
everywhere came mellow notes. From the appearance of 
the road it was patent that it had been used for hauling clay 
to the now idle brickyard. Salving his conscience with the 
idea that this was part of the inspection, he rode on to the 
clay-pit — a huge scar in a hillside. But he did not linger 
long, swinging off again to the left and leaving the road. 
Not a farm-house was in sight, and the change from the 
city crowding was essentially satisfying. He rode now 
through open woods, across little flower-scattered glades, 
till he came upon a spring. Flat on the ground, he drank 
deeply of the clear water, and, looking about him, felt 
with a shock the beauty of the world. It came to him like 
a discovery; he had never realized it before, he concluded, 
and also, he had forgotten much. One could not sit in at 
high finance and keep track of such things. As he drank 
in the air, the scene, and the distant song of larks, he felt 
like a poker-player rising from a night-long table and com- 
ing forth from the pent atmosphere to taste the freshness of 
the morn. 

At the base of the knolls he encountered a tumble-down 
stake-and-rider fence. From the look of it he judged it 
must be forty years old at least — the work of some first 
pioneer who had taken up the land when the days of gold 
had ended. The woods were very thick here, yet fairly 
clear of underbrush, so that, while the blue sky was screened 
by the arched branches, he was able to ride beneath. He 
now found himself in a nook of several acres, where the oak 
and manzanita and madrono gave way to clusters of stately 
redwoods. Against the foot of a steep-sloped knoll he came 
upon a magnificent group of redwoods that seemed to have 
gathered about a tiny gurgling spring. 



184 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

He halted his horse, for beside the spring uprose a wild 
California lily. It was a wonderful flower, growing there 
in the cathedral nave of lofty trees. At least eight feet in 
height, its stem rose straight and slender, green and bare, 
for two-thirds its length, and then burst into a shower 
of snow-white waxen bells. There were hundreds of these 
blossoms, all from the one stem, delicately poised and 
ethereally frail. Daylight had never seen anything like it. 
Slowly his gaze wandered from it to all that was about him. 
He took off his hat, with almost a vague religious feeling. 
This was different. No room for contempt and evil here. 
This was clean and fresh and beautiful — something he 
could respect. It was like a church. The atmosphere was 
one of holy calm. Here man felt the prompting of nobler 
things. Much of this and more was in Daylight's heart as 
he looked about him. But it was not a concept of his mind. 
He merely felt it without thinking about it at all. 

On the steep incline above the spring grew tiny maiden- 
hair ferns, while higher up were larger ferns and brakes. 
Great, moss-covered trunks of fallen trees lay here and 
there, slowly sinking back and merging into the level of 
the forest mould. Beyond, in a slightly clearer space, wild 
grape and honeysuckle swung in green riot from gnarled 
old oak trees. A gray Douglas squirrel crept out on a 
branch and watched him. From somewhere came the dis- 
tant knocking of a woodpecker. This sound did not disturb 
the hush and awe of the place. Quiet woods' noises be- 
longed there and made the solitude complete. The tiny 
bubbling ripple of the spring and the gray flash of tree- 
squirrel were as yardsticks with which to measure the 
silence and motionless repose. 

"Might be a million miles from anywhere," Daylight 
whispered to himself. 

But ever his gaze returned to the wonderful lily beside 
the bubbling spring. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 85 

He tethered the horse and wandered on foot among the 
knolls. Their tops were crowned with century-old spruce 
trees, and their sides clothed with oaks and madronos and 
native holly. But to the perfect redwoods belonged the 
small but deep caiion that threaded its way among the 
knolls. Here he found no passage out for his horse, and he 
returned to the lily beside the spring. On foot, tripping, 
stumbling, leading the animal, he forced his way up tlie 
hillside. And ever the ferns carpeted the way of his feet, 
ever the forest climbed with him and arched overhead, 
and ever the clean joy and sweetness stole in upon his 
senses. 

On the crest he came through an amazing thicket of 
velvet-trunked young madroiios, and emerged on an open 
hillside that led down into a tiny valley. The sunshine was 
at first dazzling in its brightness, and he paused and rested, 
for he was panting from the exertion. Not of old had he 
known shortness of breath such as this, and muscles that 
so easily tired at a stiff climb. A tiny stream ran down 
the tiny valley through a tiny meadow that was carpeted 
knee-high with grass and blue and white nemophila. The 
hillside was covered with Mariposa lihes and wild hyacinth, 
down through which his horse dropped slowly, with circum- 
spect feet and reluctant gait. 

Crossing the stream. Daylight followed a faint cattle- 
trail over a low, rocky hill and through a wine-wooded forest 
of manzanita, and emerged upon another tiny valley, down 
which filtered another spring-fed, meadow-bordered stream- 
let. A jack-rabbit bounded from a bush under his horse's 
nose, leaped the stream, and vanished up the opposite hill- 
side of scrub-oak. Daylight watched it admiringly as he 
rode on to the head of the meadow. Here he startled up 
a many-pronged buck, that seemed to soar across the 
meadow, and to soar over the stake-and-rider fence, and, 
still soaring, disappeared in a friendly copse beyond. 



1 86 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Daylight's delight was unbounded. It seemed to him 
that he had never been so happy. His old woods' training 
was aroused, and he was keenly interested in everything — 
in the moss on the trees and branches; in the bunches of 
mistletoe hanging in the oaks; in the nest of a wood-rat; 
in the water-cress growing in the sheltered eddies of the 
little stream; in the butterflies drifting through the rifted 
sunshine and shadow; in the blue jays that flashed in 
splashes of gorgeous color across the forest aisles; in the 
tiny birds, like wrens, that hopped among the bushes and 
imitated certain minor quail-calls; and in the crimson- 
crested woodpecker that ceased its knocking and cocked its 
head on one side to survey him. Crossing the stream, he 
struck faint vestiges of a wood-road, used, evidently, a 
generation back, when the meadow had been cleared of its 
oaks. He found a hawk's nest on the lightning-shattered 
tipmost top of a six-foot redwood. And to complete it 
all, his horse stumbled upon several large broods of half- 
grown quail, and the air was filled with the thrum of their 
flight. He halted and watched the young ones "petrify- 
ing" and disappearing on the ground before his eyes, and 
listening to the anxious calls of the old ones hidden in the 
thickets. 

"It sure beats country places and bungalows at Menlo 
Park," he communed aloud; "and if ever I get the hanker- 
ing for country life, it's me for this every time." 

The old wood-road led him to a clearing, where a dozen 
acres of grapes grew on wine-red soil. A cow-path, more 
trees and thickets, and he dropped down a hillside to the 
southeast exposure. Here, poised above a big forested 
caiion, and looking out upon Sonoma Valley, was a small 
farm-house. With its barn and outhouses it snuggled into 
a nook in the hillside, which protected it from west and 
north. It was the erosion from this hillside, he judged, 
that had formed the little level stretch of vegetable garden. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 187 

The soil was fat and black, and there was water in plenty, 
for he saw several faucets running wide open. 

Forgotten was the brickyard. Nobody was at home, 
but Daylight dismounted and ranged the vegetable garden, 
eating strawberries and green peas, inspecting the old 
adobe barn and the rusty plough and harrow, and rolling 
and smoking cigarettes while he watched the antics of sev- 
eral broods of young chickens and the mother hens. A foot- 
trail that led down the wall of the big caiion invited him, 
and he proceeded to follow it. A water-pipe, usually above 
ground, paralleled the trail, which he concluded led up- 
stream to the bed of the creek. The wall of the canon 
was several hundred feet from top to bottom, and so mag- 
nificent were the untouched trees that the place was plunged 
in perpetual shade. He measured with his eye spruces 
five and six feet in diameter and redwoods even larger. 
One such he passed, a twister that was at least ten or 
eleven feet through. The trail led straight to a small dam 
where was the intake for the pipe that watered the vege- 
table garden. Here, beside the stream, were alders and 
laurel trees, and he walked through fern-brakes higher 
than his head. Velvety moss was everywhere, out of which 
grew maiden-hair and gold-back ferns. 

Save for the dam, it was a virgin wild. No axe had in- 
vaded, and the trees died only of old age and stress of winter 
storm. The huge trunks of those that had fallen lay moss- 
covered, slowly resolving back into the soil from which they 
sprang. Some had lain so long that they were quite gone, 
though their faint outlines, level with the mould, could still 
be seen. Others bridged the stream, and from beneath the 
bulk of one monster half a dozen younger trees, overthrown 
and crushed by the fall, growing out along the ground, still 
lived and prospered, their roots bathed by the stream, their 
upshooting branches catching the sunlight through the gap 
that had been made in the forest roof. 



1 88 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Back at the farm-house, Dayhght mounted and rode on 
away from the ranch and into the wilder carions and 
steeper steeps beyond. Nothing could satisfy his holiday 
spirit now but the ascent of Sonoma Mountain. And here 
on the crest, three hours afterward, he emerged, tired and 
sweaty, garments torn and face and hands scratched, but 
with sparkling eyes and an unwonted zestfulness of expres- 
sion. He felt the illicit pleasure of a schoolboy playing 
truant. The big gambling table of San Francisco seemed 
very far away. But there was more than illicit pleasure in 
his mood. It was as though he were going through a sort of 
cleansing bath. No room here for all the sordidness, mean- 
ness, and viciousness that filled the dirty pool of city ex- 
istence. Without pondering in detail upon the matter at 
all, his sensations were of purification and uplift. Had 
he been asked to state how he felt, he would merely have 
said that he was having a good time; for he was unaware in 
his self-consciousness of the potent charm of nature that 
was percolating through his city-rotted body and brain — 
potent, in that he came of an abysmal past of wilderness 
dwellers, while he was himself coated with but the thinnest 
rind of crowded civihzation. 

There were no houses in the summit of Sonoma Moun- 
tain, and, all alone under the azure California sky, he reined 
in on the southern edge of the peak. He saw open pasture 
country, intersected with wooded carions, descending to 
the south and west from his feet, crease on crease and roll 
on roll, from lower level to lower level, to the floor of Peta- 
luma Valley, flat as a billiard-table, a cardboard affair, all 
patches and squares of geometrical regularity where the 
fat freeholds were farmed. Beyond, to the west, rose 
range on range of mountains cuddling purple mists of atmos- 
phere in their valleys; and still beyond, over the last range 
of all, he saw the silver sheen of the Pacific. Swinging his 
horse, he surveyed the west and north, from Santa Rosa to 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 189 

Mount St. Helena, and on to the east, across Sonoma 
Valley, to the chaparral-covered range that shut off the view 
of Napa Valley. Here, part way up the eastern wall of 
Sonoma Valley, in range of a line intersecting the little vil- 
lage of Glen Ellen, he made out a scar upon a hillside. His 
first thought was that it was the dump of a mine tunnel, 
but remembering that he was not in gold-bearing country, 
he dismissed the scar from his mind and continued the circle 
of his survey to the southeast, where, across the waters of 
San Pablo Bay, he could see, sharp and distant, the twin 
peaks of Mount Diablo. To the south was Mount Tamal- 
pais, and, yes, he was right, fifty miles away, where the 
draughty winds of the Pacific blew in the Golden Gate, 
the smoke of San Francisco made a low-lying haze against 
the sky. 

"I ain't seen so much country all at once in many a day," 
he thought aloud. 

He was loath to depart, and it was not for an hour that 
he was able to tear himself away and take the descent of 
the mountain. Working out a new route just for the fun of 
it, late afternoon was upon him when he arrived back at 
the wooded knolls. Here, on the top of one of them, his 
keen eyes caught a glimpse of a shade of green sharply 
differentiated from any he had seen all day. Studying it for 
a minute, he concluded that it was composed of three cy- 
press trees, and he knew that nothing else than the hand of 
man could have planted them there. Impelled by curiosity 
purely boyish, he made up his mind to investigate. So 
densely wooded was the knoll, and so steep, that he had to 
dismount and go up on foot, at times even on hands and 
knees struggling hard to force a way through the thicker un- 
derbrush. He came out abruptly upon the cypresses. They 
were enclosed in a small square of ancient fence; the pickets 
he could plainly see had been hewn and sharpened by hand. 
Inside were the mounds of two children's graves. Two 



IQO BURNESfG DAYLIGHT 

wooden headboards, likewise hand-hewn, told the story: 
Little David, born 1855, ^^^^ 1859; and Little Lily, born 
1853, died i860. 

"The poor httle kids," Daylight muttered. 

The graves showed signs of recent care. Withered 
bouquets of wild flowers were on the mounds, and the let- 
tering on the headboards was freshly painted. Guided by 
these clews. Daylight cast about for a trail, and found one 
leading down the side opposite to his ascent. Circling the 
base of the knoll, he picked up with his horse and rode on 
to the farm-house. Smoke was rising from the chimney, 
and he was quickly in conversation with a nervous, slender 
young man, who, he learned, was only a tenant on the 
ranch. How large was it? A matter of one hundred and 
eighty acres, though it seemed much larger. This was 
because it was so irregularly shaped. Yes, it included the 
clay-pit and all the knolls, and its boundary that ran along 
the big caiion was over a mile long. 

"You see," the young man said, "it was so rough and 
broken that when they began to farm this country the 
farmers bought in the good land to the edge of it. That's 
why its boundaries are all gouged and jagged." 

"Oh, yes, he and his wife managed to scratch a living 
without working too hard. They didn't have to pay much 
rent. Hillard, the owner, depended on the income from 
the clay-pit. Hillard was well off, and had big ranches 
and vineyards down on the flat of the valley. The brick- 
yard paid ten cents a cubic yard for the clay. As for the 
rest of the ranch, the land was good in patches, where it 
was cleared, like the vegetable garden and the vineyard, 
but the rest of it was too much up-and-down. 

"You're not a farmer," Daylight said. 

The young man laughed and shook his head. 

"No; I'm a telegraph operator. But the wife and I 
decided to take a two years' vacation, and . . . here we 



BURNING DAYLIGHT I9I 

are. But the time's about up. I'm going back into the 
office this fall after I get the grapes off." 

Yes, there were about eleven acres in the vineyard — 
wine grapes. The price was usually good. He grew most 
of what they ate. If he owned the place, he'd clear a patch 
of land on the side-hill above the vineyard and plant a small 
home orchard. The soil was good. There was plenty of 
pasturage all over the ranch, and there were several cleared 
patches, amounting to about fifteen acres in all, where he 
grew as fine mountain hay as could be found. It sold for 
three to five dollars more a ton than the rank-stalked valley 
hay. 

As Dayhght listened, there came to him a sudden envy 
of this young fellow living right in the midst of all this 
which Daylight had travelled through the last few hours. 

"What in thunder are you going back to the telegraph 
office for?" he demanded. 

The young man smiled with a certain wistfulness. 

"Because we can't get ahead here . . ." (he hesitated an 
instant), "and because there are added expenses coming. 
The rent, small as it is, counts; and besides, I'm not strong 
enough to effectually farm the place. If I owned it, or if 
I were a real husky like you, I'd ask nothing better. Nor 
would the wife." Again the wistful smile hovered on his 
face. "You see, we're country born, and after bucking with 
cities for a few years, we kind of feel we like the country 
best. We've planned to get ahead, though, and then some 
day we'll buy a patch of land and stay with it." 

The graves of the children? Yes, he had relettered them 
and hoed the weeds out. It had become the custom. Who- 
ever hved on the ranch did that. For years, the story ran, 
the father and mother had returned each summer to the 
graves. But there had come a time when they came no 
more, and then old Hillard started the custom. The scar 
across the valley? An old mine. It had never paid. 



192 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

The men had worked on it, off and on, for years, for the 
indications had been good. But that was years and years 
ago. No paying mine had ever been struck in the valley, 
though there had been no end of prospect-holes put down, 
and there had been a sort of rush there thirty years back. 

A frail-looking young woman came to the door to call the 
young man to supper. Daylight's first thought was that 
city living had not agreed with her. And then he noted 
the slight tan and healthy glow that seemed added to her 
face, and he decided that the country was the place for her. 
Declining an invitation to supper, he rode on for Glen Ellen, 
sitting slack-kneed in the saddle and softly humming for- 
gotten songs. He dropped down the rough, winding road, 
through oak-covered pasture, with here and there thickets 
of manzanita and vistas of open glades. He listened greed- 
ily to the quail calling, and laughed outright, once, in sheer 
joy, at a tiny chipmunk that fled scolding up a bank, slip- 
ping on the crumbly surface and falling down, then dashing 
across the road under his horse's nose and, still scolding, 
scrambling up a protecting oak. 

DayHght could not persuade himself to keep to the 
travelled roads that day, and another cut across country to 
Glen Ellen brought him upon a caiion that so blocked his 
way that he was glad to follow a friendly cow-path. This 
led him to a small frame cabin. The doors and windows 
were open, and a cat was nursing a litter of kittens in the 
doorway, but no one seemed at home. He descended the 
trail that evidently crossed the caiion. Part way down, he 
met an old man coming up through the sunset. In his hand 
he carried a pail of foamy milk. He wore no hat, and in 
his face, framed with snow-white hair and beard, was the 
ruddy glow and content of the passing summer day. Day- 
light thought that he had never seen so contented-looking 
a being. 

"How old are you, daddy?" he queried. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 193 

"Eighty-four," was the reply. "Yes, sirree, eighty-four, 
and spryer than most." 

"You must a' taken good care of yourself," Daylight 
suggested. 

"I don't know about that. I ain't loafed none. I walked 
across the Plains with an ox-team and fit Injuns in '51, and 
I was a family man then with seven youngsters. I reckon 
I was as old then as you are now, or pretty nigh on to it." 

"Don't you find it lonely here?" 

The old man shifted the pail of milk and reflected. 

"That all depends," he said oracularly. "I ain't never 
been lonely except when the old wife died. Some fellers 
are lonely in a crowd, and I'm one of them. That's the 
only time I'm lonely, is when I go to 'Frisco. But I don't 
go no more, thank you 'most to death. This is good enough 
for me. I've ben right here in this valley since '54 — one 
of the first settlers after the Spaniards." 

Daylight started his horse, saying: — 

"Well, good night, daddy. Stick with it. You got all 
the young bloods skinned, and I guess you've sure buried 
a mighty sight of them." 

The old man chuckled, and Daylight rode on, singularly 
at peace with himself and all the world. It seemed that 
the old contentment of trail and camp he had known on the 
Yukon had come back to him. He could not shake from 
his eyes the picture of the old pioneer coming up the trail 
through the sunset light. He was certainly going some for 
eighty-four. The thought of following his example entered 
Daylight's mind, but the big game of San Francisco vetoed 
the idea. 

"Well, anyway," he decided, "when I get old and quit 
the game, I'll settle down in a place something like this, 
and the city can go to hell." 



CHAPTER IX 

Instead of returning to the city on Monday, Daylight 
rented the butcher's horse for another day and crossed the 
bed of the valley to its eastern hills to look at the mine. It 
was dryer and rockier here than where he had been the day 
before, and the ascending slopes supported mainly chapar- 
ral — scrubby and dense and impossible to penetrate on 
horseback. But in the cafions water was plentiful and also 
a luxuriant forest growth. The mine was an abandoned 
affair, but he enjoyed the half-hour's scramble around. He 
had had experience in quartz-mining before he went to 
Alaska, and he enjoyed the recrudescence of his old wisdom 
in such matters. The story was simple to him: good pros- 
pects that warranted the starting of the tunnel into the side- 
hill; the three months' work and the getting short of 
money; the lay-off while the men went away and got jobs; 
then the return and a new stretch of work, with the "pay" 
ever luring and ever receding into the mountain, until, after 
years of hope, the men had given up and vanished. Most 
likely they were dead by now, Daylight thought, as he 
turned in the saddle and looked back across the caiion at 
the ancient dump and dark mouth of the tunnel. 

As on the previous day, just for the joy of it, he followed 
cattle-trails at haphazard and worked his way up toward 
the summits. Coming out on a wagon road that led up- 
ward, he followed it for several miles, emerging in a small, 
mountain-encircled valley, where half a dozen poor ranchers 
farmed the wine-grapes on the steep slopes. Beyond, the 
road pitched upward. Dense chaparral covered the ex- 

194 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 19$ 

posed hillsides, but in the creases of the canons huge spruce 
trees grew, and wild oats and flowers. 

Half an hour later, sheltering under the summits them- 
selves, he came out on a clearing. Here and there, in irregu- 
lar patches where the steep and the soil favored, wine- 
grapes were growing. Daylight could see that it had been 
a stiff struggle, and that wild nature showed fresh signs 
of winning — chaparral that had invaded the clearings; 
patches and parts of patches of vineyard, unpruned, grass- 
grown, and abandoned; and everyivhere old stake-and-rider 
fences vainly striving to remain intact. Here, at a small 
farm-house surrounded by large outbuildings, the road 
ended. Beyond, the chaparral blocked the way. 

He came upon an old woman forking manure in the barn- 
yard, and reined in by the fence. 

"Hello, mother," was his greeting; "ain't you got ary 
men- folk around to do that for you?" 

She leaned on her pitchfork, hitched her skirt in at the 
waist, and regarded him cheerfully. He saw that her toil- 
worn, weather-exposed hands were like a man's, calloused^ 
large-knuckled, and gnarled, and that her stockingless feet 
were thrust into heavy man's brogans. 

"Nary a man," she answered. "And where be you from, 
and all the way up here? Won't you stop and hitch and 
have a glass of wine?" 

Striding clumsily but efficiently, Hke a laboring-man, 
she led him into the largest building, where Daylight saw a 
hand-press and all the paraphernalia on a small scale for the 
making of wine. It was too far and too bad a road to haul 
the grapes to the valley wineries, she explained, and so they 
were compelled to do it themselves. "They," he learned, 
were she and her daughter, the latter a widow of forty-odd. 
It had been easier before the grandson died and before 
he went away to fight savages in the Philippines. He had 
died out there in battle. 



196 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Daylight drank a full tumbler of excellent Riesling, 
talked a few minutes, and accounted for a second tumbler. 
Yes, they just managed not to starve. Her husband and she 
had taken up this government land in '57 and cleared it and 
farmed it ever since, until he died, when she had carried it 
on. It actually didn't pay for the toil, but what were they 
to do? There was the wine trust, and wine was down. 
That Riesling? She delivered it to the railroad down in 
the valley for twenty-two cents a gallon. And it was a long 
haul. It took a day for the round trip. Her daughter was 
gone now with a load. 

Daylight knew that in the hotels, Riesling, not quite so 
good even, was charged for at from a dollar and a half to 
two dollars a quart. And she got twenty-two cents a gallon. 
That was the game. She was one of the stupid lowly, she 
and her people before her — the ones that did the work, 
drove their oxen across the Plains, cleared and broke the 
virgin land, toiled all days and all hours, paid their taxes, 
and sent their sons and grandsons out to fight and die for 
the flag that gave them such ample protection that they 
were able to sell their wine for twenty-two cents. The 
same wine was served to him at the St. Francis for two dol- 
lars a quart, or eight dollars a short gallon. That was it. 

Between her and her hand-press on the mountain clearing 
and him ordering his wine in the hotel was a difference of 
seven dollars and seventy-eight cents. A clique of sleek 
men in the city got between her and him to just about that 
amount. And, besides them, there was a horde of others 
that took their whack. They called it railroading, high 
finance, banking, wholesaling, real estate, and such things, 
but the point was that they got it, while she got what was 
left, — twenty-two cents. Oh, well, a sucker was born 
every minute, he sighed to himself, and nobody was to 
blame; it was all a game, and only a few could win, but it 
was damned hard on the suckers. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT I97 

"How old are you, mother?" he asked. 

"Seventy-nine come next January." 

"Worked pretty hard, I suppose?" 

"Sence I was seven. I was bound out in Michigan state 
until I was woman-grown. Then I married, and I reckon 
the work got harder and harder." 

"When are you going to take a rest?" 

She looked at him, as though she chose to think his ques- 
tion facetious, and did not reply. 

"Do you believe in God?" 

She nodded her head. 

"Then you get it all back," he assured her; but in his 
heart he was wondering about God, that allowed so many 
suckers to be born and that did not break up the gambling 
game by which they were robbed from the cradle to the 
grave. 

"How much of that Riesling you got?" 

She ran her eyes over the casks and calculated. "Just 
short of eight hundred gallons." 

He wondered what he could do with all of it, and specu- 
lated as to whom he could give it away. 

"What would you do if you got a dollar a gallon for it?" 
he asked. 

"Drop dead, I suppose." 

"No; speaking seriously." 

"Get me some false teeth, shingle the house, and buy a 
new wagon. The road's mighty hard on wagons." 

"And after that?" 

"Buy me a coffin." 

"Well, they're yours, mother, coffin and all." 

She looked her incredulity. 

"No; I mean it. And there's fifty to bind the bargain. 
Never mind the receipt. It's the rich ones that need watch- 
ing, their memories being so infernal short, you know. 
Here's my address. You've got to deliver it to the railroad. 



198 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

And now, show me the way out of here. I want to get up 
to the top." 

On through the chaparral he went, following faint cattle- 
trails and working slowly upward till he came out on the 
divide and gazed down into Napa Valley and back across 
to Sonoma Mountain. 

"A sweet land," he muttered, "an almighty sweet land." 

Circling around to the right and dropping down along the 
cattle-trails, he quested for another way back to Sonoma 
Valley; but the cattle-trails seemed to fade out, and the 
chaparral to grow thicker with a deliberate viciousness, 
and even when he won through in places, the cafion and 
small feeders were too precipitous for his horse, and turned 
him back. But there was no irritation about it. He en- 
joyed it all, for he was back at his old game of bucking 
nature. Late in the afternoon he broke through, and fol- 
lowed a well-defined trail down a dry caiion. Here he got 
a fresh thrill. He had heard the baying of the hound some 
minutes before, and suddenly, across the bare face of the hill 
above him, he saw a large buck in flight. And not far behind 
came the deer-hound, a magnificent animal. Daylight sat 
tense in his saddle and watched until they disappeared, his 
breath just a trifle shorter, as if he, too, were in the chase, 
his nostrils distended, and in his bones the old hunting ache 
and memories of the days before he came to live in cities. 

The dry canon gave place to one with a slender ribbon 
of running water. The trail ran into a wood-road, and the 
wood-road emerged across a small flat upon a slightly 
travelled county road. There were no farms in this imme- 
diate section, and no houses. The soil was meagre, the 
bed-rock either close to the surface or constituting the sur- 
face itself. Manzanita and scrub-oak, however, flourished 
and walled the road on either side with a jungle growth. 
And out a runway through this growth a man suddenly 
scuttled in a way that reminded DayHght of a rabbit. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 1 99 

He was a little man, in patched overalls; bareheaded, 
with a cotton shirt open at the throat and down the chest. 
The sun was ruddy-brown in his face, and by it his sandy 
hair was bleached on the ends to peroxide blond. He 
signed to Daylight to halt, and held up a letter. 

"If you're going to town, I'd be obliged if you mail 
this," he said. 

"I sure will." Daylight put it into his coat pocket. 
"Do you live hereabouts, stranger?" 

But the little man did not answer. He was gazing at 
Daylight in a surprised and steadfast fashion. 

"I know you," the little man announced. "You're Elam 
Harnish — Burning Daylight, the papers call you. Am 
I right?" 

Daylight nodded. 

"But what under the sun are you doing here in the 
chaparral?" 

Daylight grinned as he answered, "Drumming up trade 
for a free rural delivery route." 

"Well, I'm glad I wrote that letter this afternoon," the 
little man went on, "or else I'd have missed seeing you. 
I've seen your photo in the papers many a time, and I've a 
good memory for faces. I recognized you at once. My 
name's Ferguson." 

"Do you live hereabouts?" Daylight repeated his query. 

"Oh, yes. I've got a little shack back here in the bush 
a hundred yards, and a pretty spring, and a few fruit trees 
and berry bushes. Come in and take a look. And that 
spring is a dandy. You never tasted water like it. Come 
in and try it." 

Walking and leading his horse, Daylight followed the 
quick-stepping, eager little man through the green tunnel 
and emerged abruptly upon the clearing, if clearing it might 
be called, where wild nature and man's earth-scratching 
were inextricably blended. It was a tiny nook in the hills, 
protected by the steep walls of a caiion mouth. Here 



200 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

were several large oaks, evidencing a richer soil. The 
erosion of ages from the hillside had slowly formed this 
deposit of fat earth. Under the oaks, almost buried in 
them, stood a rough, unpainted cabin, the wide veranda 
of which, with chairs and hammocks, advertised an out-of- 
doors bedchamber. Daylight's keen eyes took in every- 
thing. The clearing was irregular, following the patches 
of the best soil, and every fruit tree and berry bush, and 
even each vegetable plant, had the water personally con- 
ducted to it. The tiny irrigation channels were every- 
where, and along some of them the water was running. 

Ferguson looked eagerly into his visitor's face for signs 
of approbation. 

"What do you think of it, eh?" 

"Hand-reared and manicured, every blessed tree," Day- 
light laughed, but the joy and satisfaction that shone in his 
eyes contented the little man. 

"Why, d'ye know, I know every one of those trees as if 
they were sons of mine. I planted them, nursed them, 
fed them, and brought them up. Come on and peep at the 
spring." 

"It's sure a hummer," was Dayhght's verdict, after due 
inspection and sampling, as they turned back for the house. 

The interior was a surprise. The cooking being done in 
the small, lean-to kitchen, the whole cabin formed a large 
living room. A great table in the middle was comfortably 
littered with books and magazines. All the available wall 
space, from floor to ceihng, was occupied by filled book- 
shelves. It seemed to DayUght that he had never seen so 
many books assembled in one place. Skins of wildcat, 
'coon, and deer lay about on the pine-board floor. 

"Shot them myself, and tanned them, too," Ferguson 
proudly asserted. 

The crowning feature of the room was a huge fireplace of 
rough stones and boulders. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 201 

"Built it myself," Ferguson proclaimed, "and, by God, 
she drew! Never a wisp of smoke anywhere save in the 
appointed channel, and that during the big southeasters, 
too." 

Daylight found himself charmed and made curious by 
the little man. Why was he hiding away here in the 
chaparral, he and his books? He was nobody's fool, any- 
body could see that. Then why? The whole affair had 
a tinge of adventure, and Daylight accepted an invitation 
to supper, half prepared to find his host a raw-fruit-and-nut- 
eater, or some similar sort of health faddist. At table, 
while eating rice and jack-rabbit curry (the latter shot by 
Ferguson), they talked it over, and Daylight found the little 
man had no food "views." He ate whatever he Hked, and 
all he wanted, avoiding only such combinations that experi- 
ence had taught him disagreed with his digestion. 

Next, Daylight surmised that he might be touched with 
religion; but, quest about as he would, in a conversation 
covering the most divergent topics, he could find no hint of 
queerness or unusualness. So it was, when between them 
they had washed and wiped the dishes and put them away, 
and had settled down to a comfortable smoke, that Daylight 
put his question. 

"Look here, Ferguson. Ever since we got together, 
I've been casting about to find out what's wrong with you, 
to locate a screw loose somewhere, but I'll be danged if 
I've succeeded. What are you doing here, anyway? What 
made you come here? What were you doing for a living 
before you came here? Go ahead and elucidate yourself." 

Ferguson frankly showed his pleasure at the questions. 

"First of all," he began, "the doctors wound up by losing 
all hope for me. Gave me a few months at best, and that, 
after a course in sanatoriums and a trip to Europe and 
another to Hawaii. They tried electricity, and forced 
feeding, and fasting. I was a graduate of about everything 



202 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

in the curriculum. They kept me poor with their bills, 
while I went from bad to worse. The trouble with me was 
two fold: first, I was a born weakling; and next, I was liv- 
ing unnaturally — too much work, and responsibility, and 
strain. I was managing editor of the Times-Tribune — " 

Daylight gasped mentally, for the Times-Tribune was 
the biggest and most influential paper in San Francisco, 
and always had been so. 

" — and I wasn't strong enough for the strain. Of 
course my body went back on me, and my mind, too, for 
that matter. It had to be bolstered up with whiskey, 
which wasn't good for it any more than was the living in 
clubs and hotels good for my stomach and the rest of me. 
That was what ailed me; I was living all wrong." 

He shrugged his shoulders and drew at his pipe. 

"When the doctors gave me up, I wound up my affairs 
and gave the doctors up. That was fifteen years ago. I'd 
been hunting through here when I was a boy, on vacations 
from college, and when I was all down and out it seemed a 
yearning came to me to go back to the country. So I quit, 
quit everything, absolutely, and came to Hve in the Valley 
of the Moon — that's the Indian name, you know, for 
Sonoma Valley. I lived in the lean-to the first year; then 
I built the cabin and ^ent for my books. I never knew what 
happiness was before, nor health. Look at me now and 
dare to tell me that I look forty-seven." 

"I wouldn't give a day over forty," Daylight confessed. 

"Yet the day I came here I looked nearer sixty, and that 
was fifteen years ago." 

They talked along, and Daylight looked at the world 
from new angles. Here was a man, neither bitter nor cyni- 
cal, who laughed at the city-dwellers and called them luna- 
tics; a man who did not care for money, and in whom the 
lust for power had long since died. As for the friendship of 
the city-dwellers, his host spoke in no uncertain terms. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 203 

"What did they do, all the chaps I knew, the chaps in the 
clubs, with whom I'd been cheek by jowl for heaven knows 
how long? I was not beholden to them for anything, and 
when I slipped out there was not one of them to drop me a 
line and say, 'How are you, old man? Anything I can do 
for you?' For several weeks it was: 'What's become of 
Ferguson?' After that I became a reminiscence and a 
memory. Yet every last one of them knew I had nothing 
but my salary and that I'd always lived a lap ahead of it." 

"But what do you do now?" was Daylight's query. 
"You must need cash to buy clothes and magazines?" 

"A week's work or a month's work, now and again, 
ploughing in the winter, or picking grapes in the fall, and 
there's always odd jobs with the farmers through the sum- 
mer. I don't need much, so I don't have to work much. 
Most of my time I spend fooling around the place. I could 
do hack work for the magazines and newspapers; but I 
prefer the ploughing and the grape picking. Just look at me 
and you can see why. I'm hard as rocks. And I like the 
work. But I tell you a chap's got to break in to it. It's a 
great thing when he's learned to pick grapes a whole long 
day and come home at the end of it with that tired happy 
feeling, instead of being in a state of physical collapse. That 
fireplace — those big stones — I was soft, then, a little, 
anaemic, alcoholic degenerate, with the spunk of a rabbit 
and about one per cent as much stamina, and some of those 
big stones nearly broke my back and my heart. But I per- 
severed, and used my body in the way Nature intended it 
should be used — not bending over a desk and swilling 
whiskey . . . and, well, here I am, a better man for it, and 
there's the fireplace, fine and dandy, eh? 

"And now tell me about the Klondike, and how you 
turned San Francisco upside down with that last raid of 
yours. You're a bonny fighter, you know, and you touch 
my imagination, though my cooler reason tells me that you 



204 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

are a lunatic like the rest. The lust for power! It's a 
dreadful affliction. Why didn't you stay in your Klondike? 
Or why don't you clear out and live a natural life, for in- 
stance, like mine? You see, I can ask questions, too. 
Now you talk and let me listen for a while." 

It was not until ten o'clock that Daylight parted from 
Ferguson. As he rode along through the starlight, the idea 
came to him of buying the ranch on the other side of the 
valley. There was no thought in his mind of ever intending 
to live on it. His game was in San Francisco. But he 
liked the ranch, and as soon as he got back to the office he 
would open up negotiations with Hillard. Besides, the 
ranch included the clay-pit, and it would give him the 
whip-hand over Holdsworthy if he ever tried to cut up any 
didoeg. 



CHAPTER X 

The time passed, and Daylight played on at the game. 
But the game had entered upon a new phase. The lust for 
power in the mere gambling and winning was metamor- 
phosing into the lust for power in order to revenge. There 
were many men in San Francisco against whom he had 
registered black marks, and now and again, with one of 
his lightning strokes, he erased such a mark. He asked no 
quarter; he gave no quarter. Men feared and hated him, 
and no one loved him, except Larry Hegan, his lawyer, who 
would have laid down his life for him. But he was the 
only man with whom Daylight was really intimate, though 
he was on terms of friendliest camaraderie with the rough 
and unprincipled following of the bosses who ruled the 
Riverside Club. 

On the other hand, San Francisco's attitude toward Day- 
light had undergone a change. While he, with his slashing 
buccaneer methods, was a distinct menace to the more 
orthodox financial gamblers, he was nevertheless so grave 
a menace that they were glad enough to leave him alone. 
He had already taught them the excellence of letting a sleep- 
ing dog lie. Many of the men, who knew that they were in 
danger of his big bear-paw when it reached out for the 
honey vats, even made efforts to placate him, to get on the 
friendly side of him. The Alta-Pacific approached him 
confidentially with an offer of reinstatement, which he 
promptly declined. He was after a number of men in that 
club, and, whenever opportunity offered, he reached out 
for them and mangled them. Even the newspapers, with 
one or two blackmailing exceptions, ceased abusing him 

205 



206 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

and became respectful. In short, he was looked upon as 
a bald-faced grizzly from the Arctic wilds to whom it was 
considered expedient to give the trail. At the time he 
raided the steamship companies, they had yapped at him 
and worried him, the whole pack of them, only to have 
him whirl around and whip them in the fiercest pitched 
battle San Francisco had ever known. Not easily forgotten 
was the Pacific Slope Seaman's strike and the giving over 
of the municipal government to the labor bosses and 
grafters. The destruction of Charles Klinkner and the 
California and Altamont Trust Company had been a warn- 
ing. But it was an isolated case; they had been confident 
in strength in numbers — until he taught them better. 

Daylight still engaged in daring speculations, as, for in- 
stance, at the impending outbreak of the Japanese-Russian 
War, when, in the face of the experience and power of the 
shipping gamblers, he reached out and clutched practically a 
monopoly of available steamer-charters. There was scarcely 
a battered tramp on the Seven Seas that was not his on 
time charter. As usual, his position was, "You've got to 
come and see me"; which they did, and, to use another 
of his phrases, they "paid through the nose" for the privi- 
lege. And all his venturing and fighting had now but one 
motive. Some day, as he confided to Hegan, when he'd 
made a sufficient stake, he was going back to New York 
and knock the spots out of Messrs. Dowsett, Letton, and 
Guggenhammer. He'd show them what an all-around 
general buzz-saw he was and what a mistake they'd made 
ever to monkey with him. But he never lost his head, and 
he knew that he was not yet strong enough to go into death- 
grapples with those three early enemies. In the meantime 
the black marks against them remained for a future erase- 
ment day. 

Dede Mason was still in the office. He had made no 
more overtures, discussed no more books and no more 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 20/ 

grammar. He had no active interest in her, and she was to 
him a pleasant memory of what had never happened, a joy, 
which, by his essential nature, he was barred from ever 
knowing. Yet, while his interest had gone to sleep and his 
energy was consumed in the endless battles he waged, he 
knew every trick of the light on her hair, every quick defi- 
nite mannerism of movement, every line of her figure as 
expounded by her tailor-made gowns. Several times, six 
months or so apart, he had increased her salary, until now 
she was receiving ninety dollars a month. Beyond this 
he dared not go, though he had got around it by making 
the work easier. This he had accomplished after her re- 
turn from a vacation, by retaining her substitute as an 
assistant. Also, he had changed his office suite, so that now 
the two girls had a room by themselves. 

His eye had become quite critical wherever Dede Mason 
was concerned. He had long since noted her pride of 
carriage. It was unobtrusive, yet it was there. He de- 
cided, from the way she carried it, that she deemed her body 
a thing to be proud of, to be cared for as a beautiful and 
valued possession. In this, and in the way she carried her 
clothes, he compared her with her assistant, with the ste- 
nographers he encountered in other offices, with the women 
he saw on the sidewalks. "She's sure well put up," he 
communed with himself; "and she sure knows how to dress 
and carry it off without being stuck on herself and without 
laying it on thick." 

The more he saw of her, and the more he thought he knew 
of her, the more unapproachable did she seem to him. But 
since he had no intention of approaching her, this was any- 
thing but an unsatisfactory fact. He was glad he had her in 
his office, and hoped she'd stay, and that was about all. 

Daylight did not improve with the passing years. The 
life was not good for him. He was growing stout and soft, 
and there was unwonted flabbiness in his muscles. The 



208 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

more he drank cocktails, the more he was compelled to 
drink in order to get the desired result, the inhibitions that 
eased him dovvn from the concert pitch of his operations. 
And with this went wine, too, at meals, and the long drinks 
after dinner of Scotch and soda at the Riverside. Then, 
too, his body suffered from lack of exercise ; and, from lack 
of decent human associations, his moral fibres were weak- 
ening. Never a man to hide anything, some of his escapades 
became public, such as speeding, and of joy-rides in his big 
red motor-car down to San Jose with companions distinctly 
sporty — incidents that were narrated as good fun and 
comically in the newspapers. 

Nor was there anything to save him. Religion had passed 
him by. "A long time dead" was his epitome of that phase 
of speculation. He was not interested in humanity. Ac- 
cording to his rough-hewn sociology, it was all a gamble. 
God was a whimsical, abstract, mad thing called Luck. As 
to how one happened to be born — whether a sucker or a 
robber — was a gamble to begin with; Luck dealt out the 
cards, and the little babies picked up the hands allotted 
them. Protest was vain. Those were their cards and they 
had to play them, willy-nilly, hunchbacked or straight 
backed, crippled or clean-limbed, addle-pated or clear- 
headed. There was no fairness in it. The cards most picked 
up put them into the sucker class; the cards of a few enabled 
them to become robbers. The playing of the cards was life; 
the crowd of players, society. The table was the earth; 
and the earth, in lumps and chunks, from loaves of bread to 
big red motor-cars, was the stake. And in the end, lucky 
and unlucky, they were all a long time dead. 

It was hard on the stupid lowly, for they were coppered to 
lose from the start; but the more he saw of the others, the 
apparent winners, the less it seemed to him that they had 
anything to brag about. They, too, were a long time dead, 
and their living did not amount to much. It was a wild 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 209 

animal fight; the strong trampled the weak, and the strong, 
he had already discovered, — men like Dowsett, and Letton, 
and Guggenhammer, — were not necessarily the best. He 
remembered his miner comrades of the Arctic, They were 
the stupid lowly, they did the hard work and were robbed of 
the fruit of their toil just as was the old woman making wine 
in the Sonoma hills; and yet they had finer qualities of 
truth, and loyalty, and square-dealing than did the men who 
robbed them. The winners seemed to be the crooked ones, 
the unfaithful ones, the wicked ones. And even they had 
no say in the matter. They played the cards that were 
given them; and Luck, the monstrous, mad-god thing, the 
owner of the whole shebang, looked on and grinned. It was 
he who stacked the universal card-deck of existence. 

There was no justice in the deal. The little men that 
came, the little pulpy babies, were not even asked if they 
wanted to try a flutter at the game. They had no choice. 
Luck jerked them into life, slammed them up against the 
jostling table, and told them: "Now play, damn you, play!" 
And they did their best, poor little devils. The play of some 
led to steam yachts and mansions; of others, to the asylum 
or the pauper's ward. Some played the one same card, over 
and over, and made wine all their days in the chaparral, 
hoping, at the end, to pull down a set of false teeth and a 
coffin. Others quit the game early, having drawn cards 
that called for violent death, or famine in the Barrens, or 
loathsome and lingering disease. The hands of some called 
for. kingship and irresponsible and unmerited power ; other 
hands called for ambition, for wealth in untold sums, for 
disgrace and shame, or for women and wine. 

As for himself, he had drawn a lucky hand, though he 
could not see all the cards. Somebody or something might 
get him yet. The mad god. Luck, might be tricking him 
along to some such end. An unfortunate set of circum- 
stances, and in a month's time the robber gang might be 



2IO BURNING DAYLIGHT 

war-dancing around his financial carcass. This very day a 
street-car might run him down, or a sign fall from a building 
and smash in his skull. Or there was disease, ever ram- 
pant, one of Luck's grimmest whims. Who could say? 
To-morrow, or some other day, a ptomaine bug, or some 
other of a thousand bugs, might jump out upon him and 
drag him down. There was Doctor Bascom, Lee Bascom, 
who had stood beside him a week ago and talked and 
laughed, a picture of magnificent youth, and strength, and 
health. And in three days he was dead — pneumonia, rheu- 
matism of the heart, and heaven knew what else — at the 
end screaming in agony that could be heard a block away. 
That had been terrible. It was a fresh, raw stroke in Day- 
light's consciousness. And when would his own turn come? 
Who could say? In the meantime there was nothing to do 
but play the cards he could see in his hand, and they were 
battle, revenge, and cocktails. And Luck sat over all and 
grinned. 



CHAPTER XI 

One Sunday, late in the afternoon, found Daylight across 
the bay in the Piedmont hills back of Oakland. As usual, 
he was in a big motor-car, though not his own, the guest of 
Swiftwater Bill, Luck's own darling, who had come down to 
spend the clean-up of the seventh fortune wrung from the 
frozen Arctic gravel. A notorious spender, his latest pile was 
already on the fair road to follow the previous six. He it 
was, in the first year of Dawson, who had cracked an ocean 
of champagne at fifty dollars a quart; who, with the bottom 
of his gold-sack in sight, had cornered the egg-market, at 
twenty-four dollars per dozen, to the tune of one hundred 
and ten dozen, in order to pique the lady-love who had jilted 
him; and he it was, paying like a prince for speed, who had 
chartered special trains and broken all records between San 
Francisco and New York. And here he was once more, the 
"luck-pup of hell," as Daylight called him, throwing his 
latest fortune away with the same old-time facility. 

It was a merry party, and they had made a merry day of 
it, circling the bay from San Francisco around by San Jose 
and up to Oakland, having been thrice arrested for speeding, 
the third time, however, on the Haywards stretch, running 
away with their captor. Fearing that a telephone message 
to arrest them had been flashed ahead, they had turned into 
the back-road through the hills, and now, rushing in upon 
Oakland by a new route, were boisterously discussing what 
disposition they should make of the constable. 

"We'll come out at Blair Park in ten minutes," one of the 
men announced. "Look here, Swiftwater, there's a cross- 



212 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

road right ahead, with lots of gates, but it'll take us bacii- 
country clear into Berkeley. Then we can come back into 
Oakland from the other side, sneak across on the ferry, and 
send the machine back around to-night with the chauffeur." 

But Swiftwater Bill failed to see why he should not go 
into Oakland by way of Blair Park, and so decided. 

The next moment, flying around a bend, the back-road 
they were not going to take appeared. Inside the gate, 
leaning out from her saddle and just closing it, was a young 
woman on a chestnut sorrel. With his first glimpse, Day 
light felt there was something strangely familiar about her. 
The next moment, straightening up in the saddle with a 
movement he could not fail to identify, she put the horse 
into a gallop, riding away with her back toward them. It 
was Dede Mason — he remembered what Morrison had told 
him about her keeping a riding horse, and he was glad she 
had not seen him in this riotous company. Swiftwater Bill 
stood up, chnging with one hand to the back of the front 
seat and waving the other to attract her attention. His lips 
were pursed for the piercing whistle for which he was 
famous and which Daylight knew of old, when Daylight, 
with a hook of his leg and a yank on the shoulder, slammed 
the startled Bill down into his seat. 

"You m-m-must know the lady," Swiftwater Bill splut- 
tered. 

''I sure do," Daylight answered, "so shut up." 

"Well, I congratulate your good taste. Daylight. She's 
a peach, and she rides like one, too." 

Intervening trees at that moment shut her from view, and 
Swiftwater Bill plunged into the problem of disposing of 
their constable, while Daylight, leaning back with closed 
eyes, was still seeing Dede JNIason gallop off down the coun- 
try road. Swiftwater Bill was right. She certainly could 
ride. And, sitting astride, her seat was perfect. Good for 
Dede! That was an added point, her having the courage 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 21$ 

to ride in the only natural and logical manner. Her head 
was screwed on right, that was one thing sure. 

On Monday morning, coming in for dictation, he looked 
at her with new interest, though he gave no sign of it ; and 
the stereotyped business passed off in the stereotyped way. 
But the following Sunday found him on a horse himself, 
across the bay and riding through the Piedmont hills. He 
made a long day of it, but no glimpse did he catch of Dede 
Mason, though he even took the back-road of many gates 
and rode on into Berkeley. Here, along the lines of multi- 
tudinous houses, up one street and down another, he won- 
dered which of them might be occupied by her. Morrison 
had said long ago that she lived in Berkeley, and she had 
been headed that way in the late afternoon of the previous 
Sunday — evidently returning home. 

It had been a fruitless day, so far as she was concerned; 
and yet not entirely fruitless, for he had enjoyed the open air 
and the horse under him to such purpose that, on Monday, 
his instructions were out to the dealers to look for the best 
chestnut sorrel that money could buy. At odd times during 
the week he examined numbers of chestnut sorrels, tried 
several, and was unsatisfied. It was not till Saturday that 
he came upon Bob. Daylight knew him for what he wanted 
the moment he laid eyes on him. A large horse for a riding 
animal, he was none too large for a big man like Daylight. 
In splendid condition, Bob's coat in the sunlight was a flame 
of fire, his arched neck a jewelled conflagration. 

"He's a sure winner," was Daylight's comment; but the 
dealer was not so sanguine. He was selling the horse on 
commission, and its owner had insisted on Bob's true char- 
acter being given. The dealer gave it. 

"Not what you'd call a real vicious horse, but a dangerous 
one. Full of vinegar and all-round cussedness, but with- 
out malice. Just as soon kill you as not, but in a playful 
sort of way, you understand, without meaning to at all. 



214 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Personally, I wouldn't think of riding him. But he's a 
stayer. Look at them lungs. And look at them legs. Not 
a blemish. He's never been hurt or worked. Nobody ever 
succeeded in taking it out of him. Mountain horse, too, 
trail-broke and all that, being raised in rough country. 
Sure-footed as a goat, so long as he don't get it into his 
head to cut up. Don't shy. Ain't really afraid, but makes 
beheve. Don't buck, but rears. Got to ride him with a mar- 
tingale. Has a bad trick of whirling around without cause. 
It's his idea of a joke on his rider. It's all just how he feels. 
One day he'll ride along peaceable and pleasant for twenty 
miles. Next day, before you get started, he's well-nigh un- 
manageable. Knows automobiles so's he can lay down 
alongside of one and sleep or eat hay out of it. He'll let 
nineteen go by without batting an eye, and mebbe the 
twentieth, just because he's feeling frisky, he'll cut up 
over like a range cayuse. Generally speaking, too lively 
for a gentleman, and too unexpected. Present owner 
nicknamed him Judas Iscariot, and refuses to sell without 
the buyer knowing all about him first. There, that's about 
all I know, except look at that mane and tail. Ever see 
anything like it? Hair as fine as a baby's." 

The dealer was right. Daylight examined the mane 
and found it finer than any horse's hair he had ever seen. 
Also, its color was unusual in that it was almost auburn. 
While he ran his fingers through it. Bob turned his head 
and playfully nuzzled Daylight's shoulder. 

"Saddle him up, and I'll try him," he told the dealer. 
"I wonder if he's used to spurs. No English saddle, mind. 
Give me a good Mexican and a curb bit — not too severe, 
seeing as he likes to rear." 

Daylight superintended the preparations, adjusting the 
curb strap and the stirrup length, and doing the cinching. 
He shook his head at the martingale, but yielded to the 
dealer's advice and allowed it to go on. And Bob, beyond 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 21$ 

spirited restlessness and a few playful attempts, gave no 
trouble. Nor in the hour's ride that followed, save for some 
permissible curveting and prancing, did he misbehave. 
Daylight was delighted; the purchase was immediately 
made; and Bob, with riding gear and personal equipment, 
was despatched across the bay forthwith to take up his 
quarters in the stables of the Oakland Riding Academy. 

The next day being Sunday, Daylight was away early, 
crossing on the ferry and taking with him Wolf, the leader 
of his sled team, the one dog which he had selected to bring 
with him when he left Alaska. Quest as he would through 
the Piedmont hills and along the many-gated back-road 
to Berkeley, Daylight saw nothing of Dede Mason and 
her chestnut sorrel. But he had Httle time for disappoint- 
ment, for his own chestnut sorrel kept him busy. Bob 
proved a handful of impishness and contrariety, and he tried 
out his rider as much as his rider tried him out. All of 
Daylight's horse knowledge and horse sense was called into 
play, while Bob, in turn, worked every trick in his lexicon. 
Discovering that his martingale had more slack in it than 
usual, he proceeded to give an exhibition of rearing and 
hind-leg walking. After ten hopeless minutes of it. Daylight 
slipped off and tightened the martingale, whereupon Bob 
gave an exhibition of angelic goodness. He fooled Day- 
light completely. At the end of half an hour of goodness, 
Daylight, lured into confidence, was riding along at a walk 
and rolling a cigarette, with slack knees and relaxed seat, 
the reins lying on the animal's neck. Bob whirled abruptly 
and with lightning swiftness, pivoting on his hind legs, his 
fore legs just lifted clear of the ground. Daylight found 
himself with his right foot out of the stirrup and his arms 
around the animal's neck; and Bob took advantage of the 
situation to bolt down the road. With a hope that he should 
not encounter Dede Mason at that moment, Daylight re- 
gained his seat and checked in the horse. 



2l6 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Arrived back at the same spot, Bob whirled again. This 
time Daylight kept his seat, but, beyond a futile rein 
across the neck, did nothing to prevent the evolution. 
He noted that Bob whirled to the right, and resolved 
to keep him straightened out by a spur on the left. But so 
abrupt and swift was the whirl that warning and accom- 
plishment were practically simultaneous. 

''Well, Bob," he addressed the animal, at the same time 
wiping the sweat from his own eyes, "I'm free to confess 
that you're sure the blamedest all-fired quickest creature I 
ever saw. I guess the way to fix you is to keep the spur 
just a-touching — ah! you brute!" 

For, the moment the spur touched him, his left hind leg 
had reached forward in a kick that struck the stirrup a 
smart blow. Several times, out of curiosity, Daylight at- 
tempted the spur, and each time Bob's hoof landed the 
stirrup. Then Daylight, following the horse's example of 
the unexpected, suddenly drove both spurs into him and 
reached him underneath with the quirt. 

"You ain't never had a real licking before," he muttered, 
as Bob, thus rudely jerked out of the circle of his own 
impish mental processes, shot ahead. 

Half a dozen times spurs and quirt bit into him, and then 
Daylight settled down to enjoy the mad magnificent gallop. 
No longer punished, at the end of a half mile Bob eased 
down into a fast canter. Wolf, toiling in the rear, was 
catching up, and everything was going nicely. 

"I'll give you a few pointers on this whirling game, my 
boy," Daylight was saying to him, when Bob whirled. 

He did it on a gallop, breaking the gallop off short by 
fore legs stiffly planted. Daylight fetched up against his 
steed's neck vnth clasped arms, and at the same instant, 
with fore feet clear of the ground. Bob whirled around. Only 
an excellent rider could have escaped being unhorsed, and as 
it was, Daylight was nastily near to it. By the time he 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 217 

recovered his seat, Bob was in full career, bolting the way 
he had come, and making Wolf side-jump to the bushes. 

"All right, darn you!" Daylight grunted, driving in spurs 
and quirt again and again. "Back-track you want to go, 
and back-track you sure will go till you're dead sick of it." 

When, after a time. Bob attempted to ease down the mad 
pace, spurs and quirt went into him again with undiminished 
vim and put him to renewed effort. And when, at last, Day- 
light decided that the horse had had enough, he turned him 
around abruptly and put him into a gentle canter on the 
forward track. After a time he reined him in to a stop to 
see if he were breathing painfully. Standing for a minute, 
Bob turned his head and nuzzled his rider's stirrup in a 
roguish, impatient way, as much as to intimate that it was 
time they were going on. 

"Well, I'll be plumb gosh darned!" was Daylight's com- 
ment. "No ill-will, no grudge, no nothing — and after that 
lambasting! You're sure a hummer. Bob." 

Once again Daylight was lulled into fancied security. For 
an hour Bob was all that could be desired of a spirited 
mount, when, and as usual without warning, he took to 
whirling and bolting. Daylight put a stop to this with spurs 
and quirt, running him several punishing miles in the direc- 
tion of his bolt. But when he turned him around and 
started forward. Bob proceeded to feign fright at trees, 
cows, bushes. Wolf, his own shadow — in short, at every 
ridiculously conceivable object. At such times, Wolf lay 
down in the shade and looked on, while Daylight wrestled 
it out. 

So the day passed. Among other things. Bob developed 
a trick of making believe to whirl and not whirling. This 
was as exasperating as the real thing, for each time Daylight 
was fooled into tightening his leg grip and into a general 
muscular tensing of all his body. And then, after a few 
make-believe attempts, Bob actually did whirl and caught 



2l8 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Daylight napping again and landed him in the old position, 
with clasped arms around the neck. And to the end of the 
day, Bob continued to be up to one trick or another ; after 
passing a dozen automobiles on the way into Oakland, sud- 
denly electing to go mad with fright at a most ordinary 
little runabout. And just before he arrived back at the 
stable he capped the day with a combined whirling and 
rearing that broke the martingale and enabled him to gain a 
perpendicular position on his hind legs. At this juncture 
a rotten stirrup leather parted, and Daylight was all but 
unhorsed. 

But he had taken a liking to the animal, and repented 
not of his bargain. He realized that Bob was not vicious 
nor mean, the trouble being that he was bursting with high 
spirits and was endowed with more than the average horse's 
intelligence. It was the spirits and the intelligence, com- 
bined with inordinate roguishness, that made him what he 
was. What was required to control him was a strong hand, 
with tempered sternness and yet with the requisite touch of 
brutal dominance. 

"It's you or me, Bob," Daylight told him more than once 
that day. 

And to the stableman, that night: — 

"My, but ain't he a looker! Ever see anything like him? 
Best piece of horseflesh I ever straddled, and I've seen a 
few in my time." 

And to Bob, who had turned his head and was up to his 
playful nuzzling: — 

"Good-by, you little bit of all right. See you again next 
Sunday a.m., and just you bring along your whole basket 
of tricks, you old son-of-a-gun." 



CHAPTER XII 

Throughout the week Daylight found himself almost as 
much interested in Bob as in Dede; and, not being in the 
thick of any big deals, he was probably more interested 
in both of them than in the business game. Bob's trick 
of whirling was of especial moment to him. How to 
overcome it, — that was the thing. Suppose he did meet 
with Dede out in the hills; and suppose, by some lucky 
stroke of fate, he should manage to be riding alongside of 
her; then that whirl of Bob's would be most disconcerting 
and embarrassing. He was not particularly anxious for her 
to see him thrown forward on Bob's neck. On the other 
hand, suddenly to leave her and go dashing down the back- 
track, plying quirt and spurs, wouldn't do, either. 

What was wanted was a method wherewith to prevent 
that lightning whirl. He must stop the animal before it 
got around. The reins would not do this. Neither would 
the spurs. Remained the quirt. But how to accomplish 
it? Absent-minded moments were many that week, when, 
sitting in his office chair, in fancy he was astride the won- 
derful chestnut sorrel and trying to prevent an anticipated 
whirl. One such moment, toward the end of the week, oc- 
curred in the middle of a conference with Hegan. Hegan, 
elaborating a new and dazzling legal vision, became aware 
that Daylight was not listening. His eyes had gone lack- 
lustre, and he, too, was seeing with inner vision. 

"Got it!" he cried suddenly. "Hegan, congratulate me. 

219 



2 20 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

It's as simple as rolling off a log. All I've got to do is 
hit him on the nose, and hit him hard." 

Then he explained to the startled Hegan, and became a 
good listener again, though he could not refrain now and 
again from making audible chuckles of satisfaction and 
delight. That was the scheme. Bob always whirled to the 
right. Very well. He would double the quirt in his hand, 
and, the instant of the whirl, that doubled quirt would rap 
Bob on the nose. The horse didn't live, after it had once 
learned the lesson, that would whirl in the face of the 
doubled quirt. 

More keenly than ever, during that week in the office, 
did Daylight realize that he had no social, nor even human, 
contacts with Dede. The situation was such that he could 
not ask her the simple question whether or not she was going 
riding next Sunday. It was a hardship of a new sort, this 
being the employer of a pretty girl. He looked at her often, 
when the routine work of the day was going on, the question 
he could not ask her tickling at the founts of speech — Was 
she going riding next Sunday? And as he looked, he won- 
dered how old she was, and what love passages she had had, 
must have had, with those college whippersnappers with 
whom, according to Morrison, she herded and danced. His 
mind was very full of her, those six days between the Sun- 
days, and one thing he came to know thoroughly well; he 
wanted her. And so much did he want her that his old 
timidity of the apron-string was put to rout. He, who had 
run away from women most of his life, had now grown so 
courageous as to pursue. Some Sunday, sooner or later, he 
would meet her outside the office, somewhere in the hills, 
and then, if they did not get acquainted, it would be because 
she did not care to get acquainted. 

Thus he found another card in the hand the mad god had 
dealt him. How important that card was to become he did 
not dream, yet he decided that it was a pretty good card. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 221 

In turn, he doubted. Maybe it was a trick of Luck to bring 
calamity and disaster upon him. Suppose Dede wouldn't 
have him, and suppose he went on loving her more and 
more, harder and harder? All his old generalized terrors of 
love revived. He remembered the disastrous love affairs of 
men and women he had known in the past. There was 
Bertha DooHttle, old Doolittle's daughter, who had been 
madly in love with Dartworthy, the rich Bonanza fraction- 
owner; and Dartworthy, in turn, not loving Bertha at all, 
but madly loving Colonel Walthstone's wife and eloping 
down the Yukon with her ; and Colonel Walthstone himself, 
madly loving his own wife and lighting out in pursuit of the 
fleeing couple. And what had been the outcome? Certainly 
Bertha's love had been unfortunate and tragic, and so had 
the love of the other three. Down below Minook, Colonel 
Walthstone and Dartworthy had fought it out. Dartworthy 
had been killed. A bullet through the Colonel's lungs had 
so weakened him that he died of pneumonia the following 
spring. And the Colonel's wife had no one left alive on 
earth to love. 

And then there was Freda, drowning herself in the run- 
ning mush-ice because of some man on the other side of the 
world, and hating him. Daylight, because he had happened 
along and pulled her out of the mush-ice and back to life. 
And the Virgin. . . . The old memories frightened him. 
If this love-germ gripped him good and hard, and if Dede 
wouldn't have him, it might be almost as bad as being 
gouged out of all he had by Dowsett, Letton, and Guggen- 
hammer. Had his nascent desire for Dede been less, he 
might well have been frightened out of all thought of her. As 
it was, he found consolation in the thought that some love 
affairs did come out right. And for all he knew, maybe Luck 
had stacked the cards for him to win. Some men were born 
lucky, Hved lucky all their days, and died lucky. Perhaps, 
too, he was such a man, a born luck-pup who could not lose. 



222 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Sunday came, and Bob, out in the Piedmont hills, behaved 
like an angel. His goodness, at times, was of the spirited, 
prancing order, but otherwise he was a lamb. Daylight, with 
doubled quirt ready in his right hand, ached for a whirl, just 
one whirl, which Bob, with an excellence of conduct that was 
tantalizing, refused to perform. But no Dede did Dayhght 
encounter. He vainly circled about among the hill roads, 
and in the afternoon took the steep grade over the divide 
of the second range and dropped into Maraga Valley. Just 
after passing the foot of the descent, he heard the hoof beats 
of-a cantering horse. It was from ahead and coming toward 
him. What if it were Dede? He turned Bob around and 
started to return at a walk. If it were Dede, he was born to 
luck, he decided; for the meeting couldn't have occurred 
under better circumstances. Here they were, both going in 
the same direction, and the canter would bring her up to him 
just where the stiff grade would compel a walk. There would 
be nothing else for her to do than ride with him to the top of 
the divide ; and, once there, the equally stiff descent on the 
other side would compel more walking. 

The canter came nearer, but he faced straight ahead until 
he heard the horse behind check to a walk. Then he glanced 
over his shoulder. It was Dede. The recognition was 
quick, and, with her, accompanied by surprise. What more 
natural thing than that, partly turning his horse, he should 
wait till she caught up with him; and that, when abreast, 
they should continue abreast on up the grade? He could 
have sighed with relief. The thing was accomplished, and 
so easily. Greetings had been exchanged; here they were 
side by side and going in the same direction with miles and 
miles ahead of them. 

He noted that her eye was first for the horse and next 
for him. 

"Oh, what a beauty 1" she had cried at sight of Bob. 
From the shining light in her eyes, and the face filled with 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 223 

delight, he would scarcely have believed that it belonged to 
the young woman he had known in the office, the young 
woman with the controlled, subdued office face. 

"I didn't know you rode," was one of her first remarks. 
"I imagined you were wedded to get-there-quick machines." 

"I've just taken it up lately," was his answer. "Begin- 
ning to get stout, you know, and had to take it off some- 
how." 

She gave a quick sidewise glance that embraced him 
from head to heel, including seat and saddle, and said: — 

"But you've ridden before." 

She certainly had an eye for horses and things connected 
with horses was his thought, as he replied: — 

"Not for many years. But I used to think I was a regular 
rip-snorter when I was a youngster up in Eastern Oregon, 
sneaking away from camp to ride with the cattle and break 
cayuses and that sort of thing." 

Thus, and to his great relief, were they launched on a 
topic of mutual interest. He told her about Bob's tricks, and 
of the whirl and his scheme to overcome it; and she agreed 
that horses had to be handled with a certain rational sever- 
ity, no matter how much one loved them. There was her 
Mab, which she had had for eight years and which she had 
had break of stall-kicking. The process had been painful 
for Mab, but it had cured her. 

"You've ridden a lot," Daylight said. 

"I really can't remember the first time I was on a horse," 
she told him. "I was born on a ranch, you know, and they 
couldn't keep me away from the horses. I must have been 
born with the love for them. I had my first pony, all my 
own, when I was six. When I was eight I knew what it was 
to be all day in the saddle along with Daddy. By the time I 
was eleven he was taking me on my first deer hunts. I'd 
be lost without a horse. I hate indoors, and without Mab 
here I suppose I'd have been sick and dead long ago." 



224 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"You like the country?" he queried, at the same moment 
catching his first glimpse of a light in her eyes other than 
gray. 

"As much as I detest the city," she answered. "But a 
woman can't earn a living in the country. So I make the 
best of it — along with Mab." 

And thereat she told him more of her ranch life in the 
days before her father died. And Daylight was hugely 
pleased with himself. They were getting acquainted. The 
conversation had not lagged in the full half hour they had 
been together. 

"We come pretty close from the same part of the coun- 
try," he said. "I was raised in Eastern Oregon, and that's 
none so far from Siskiyou." 

The next moment he could have bitten out his tongue, 
for her quick question was: — 

"How did you know I came from Siskiyou? I'm sure 
I never mentioned it." 

"I don't know," he floundered temporarily. "I heard 
somewhere that you were from thereabouts." 

Wolf, sliding up at that moment, sleek-footed and like a 
shadow, caused her horse to shy and passed the awkward- 
ness off, for they talked Alaskan dogs until the conversation 
drifted back to horses. And horses it was, all up the grade 
and down the other side. 

When she talked, he listened and followed her, and yet 
all the while he was following his own thoughts and impres- 
sions as well. It was a nervy thing for her to do, this riding 
astride, and he didn't know, after all, whether he hked it 
or not. His ideas of women were prone to be old-fashioned; 
they were the ones he had imbibed in the early-day, fron- 
tier life of his youth, when no woman was seen on anything 
but a side-saddle. He had grown up to the tacit fiction 
that women on horseback were not bipeds. It came to 
him with a shock, this sight of her so manlike in her saddle. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 225 

But he had to confess that the sight looked good to him just 
the same. 

Two other immediate things about her struck him. 
First, there were the golden spots in her eyes. Queer that 
he had never noticed them before. Perhaps the light in the 
office had not been right, and perhaps they came and 
went. No; they were glows of color — a sort of diffused, 
golden hght. Nor was it golden, either, but it was nearer 
that than any color he knew. It certainly was not any 
shade of yellow. A lover's thoughts are ever colored, and 
it is to be doubted if any one else in the world would have 
called Dede's eyes golden. But Daylight's mood verged 
on the tender and melting, and he preferred to think of them 
as golden, and therefore they were golden. 

And then she was so natural. He had been prepared to 
find her a most difficult young woman to get acquainted 
with. Yet here it was proving so simple. There was 
nothing highfalutin about her company manners — it was 
by this homely phrase that he differentiated this Dede on 
horseback from the Dede with the office manners whom he 
had always known. And yet, while he was delighted with 
the smoothness with which everything was going, and with 
the fact that they had found plenty to talk about, he was 
aware of an irk under it all. After all, this talk was empty 
and idle. He was a man of action, and he wanted her, 
Dede Mason, the woman ; he wanted her to love him and to 
be loved by him; and he wanted all this glorious consum- 
mation then and there. Used to forcing issues, used to 
gripping men and things and bending them to his will, he 
felt, now, the same compulsive prod of mastery. He wanted 
to tell her that he loved her and that there was nothing 
else for her to do but marry him. And yet he did not 
obey the prod. Women were fluttery creatures, and here 
mere mastery would prove a bungle. He remembered all 
his hunting guile, the long patience of shooting meat in 



2 26 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

famine when a hit or a miss meant life or death. Truly, 
though this girl did not yet mean quite that, nevertheless, 
she meant much to him — more, now, than ever, as he 
rode beside her, glancing at her as often as he dared, she 
in her corduroy riding-habit, so bravely manlike, yet so 
essentially and reveahngly woman, smiling, laughing, talk- 
ing, her eyes sparkling, the flush of a day of sun and sum- 
mer breeze warm in her cheeks. 



CHAPTER XIII 

Another Sunday man and horse and dog roved the Pied- 
mont hills. And again Daylight and Dede rode together. 
But this time her surprise at meeting him was tinctured 
with suspicion; or rather, her surprise was of another order. 
The previous Sunday had been quite accidental, but his 
appearing a second time among her favorite haunts hinted 
of more than the fortuitous. Dayhght was made to feel 
that she suspected him, and he, remembering that he had 
seen a big rock quarry near Blair Park, stated offhand that 
he was thinking of buying it. His one-time investment 
in a brickyard had put the idea into his head — an idea that 
he decided was a good one, for it enabled him to suggest 
that she ride along with him to inspect the quarry. 

So several hours he spent in her company, in which she 
was much the same girl as before, natural, unaffected, light- 
hearted, smiling and laughing, a good fellow, talking horses 
with unflagging enthusiasm, making friends with the crusty- 
tempered Wolf, and expressing the desire to ride Bob, whom 
she declared she was more in love with than ever. At this 
last Daylight demurred. Bob was full of dangerous tricks, 
and he wouldn't trust any one on him except his worst 
enemy. 

"You think, because I'm a girl, that I don't know any- 
thing about horses," she flashed back. "But I've been 
thrown off and bucked off enough not to be over-confident. 
And I'm not a fool. I wouldn't get on a bucking horse. 
I've learned better. And I'm not afraid of any other kind. 
And you say yourself that Bob doesn't buck." 

227 



2 28 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"But you've never seen him cutting up didoes," Daylight 
contended. 

"But you must remember I've seen a few others, and 
I've been on several of them myself. I broke Mab here 
to electric cars, locomotives, and automobiles. She was a 
raw range colt when she came to me. Broken to saddle, 
that was all. Besides, I won't hurt your horse." 

Against his better judgment. Daylight gave in, and, on 
an unfrequented stretch of road, changed saddles and 
bridles. 

"Remember, he's greased hghtning," he warned, as he 
helped her to mount. 

She nodded, while Bob pricked up his ears to the knowl- 
edge that he had a strange rider on his back. The fun came 
quickly enough — too quickly for Dede, who found herself 
against Bob's neck as he pivoted around and bolted the 
other way. Daylight followed on her horse and watched. 
He saw her check the animal quickly to a standstill, and 
immediately, with rein across neck and a decisive prod of 
the left spur, whirl him back the way he had come and 
almost as swiftly. 

"Get ready to give him the quirt on the nose," Daylight 
called. 

But, too quickly for her, Bob whirled again, though this 
time, by a severe effort, she saved herself from the undigni- 
fied position against his neck. His bolt was more deter- 
mined, but she pulled him into a prancing walk, and turned 
him roughly back with her spurred heel. There was nothing 
feminine in the way she handled him; her method was 
imperative and masculine. Had this not been so. Day- 
light would have expected her to say she had had enough. 
But that little preliminary exhibition had taught him some- 
thing of Dede's quality. And if it had not, a glance at her 
gray eyes, just perceptibly angry with herself, and at her 
firm-set mouth, would have told him the same thing. Day- 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 229 

light did not suggest anything, while he hung almost glee- 
fully upon her actions in anticipation of what the fractious 
Bob was going to get. And Bob got it, on his next 
whirl, or attempt, rather, for he was no more than half- 
way around when the quirt met him smack on his tender 
nose. There and then, in his bewilderment, surprise, and 
pain, his fore feet, just skimming above the road, dropped 
down. 

"Great!" Daylight applauded. ''A couple more will fix 
him. He's too smart not to know when he's beaten," 

Again Bob tried. But this time he was barely quarter 
around when the doubled quirt on his nose compelled him 
to drop his fore feet to the road. Then, with neither rein 
nor spur, but by the mere threat of the quirt, she straight- 
ened him out. 

Dede looked triumphantly at Daylight. 

"Let me give him a run?" she asked. 

Daylight nodded, and she shot down the road. He 
watched her out of sight around the bend, and watched till 
she came into sight returning. She certainly could sit her 
horse, was his thought, and she was a sure enough hummer. 
God, she was the wife for a man! Made most of them 
look pretty slim. And to think of her hammering all week 
at a typewriter. That was no place for her. She should 
be a man's wife, taking it easy, with silks and satins and 
diamonds (his frontier notion of what befitted a wife be- 
loved), and dogs, and horses, and such things — "And 
we'll see, Mr. Burning Daylight, what you and me can do 
about it," he murmured to himself! and aloud to her: — 

"You'll do, Miss Mason; you'll do. There's nothing too 
good in horseflesh you don't deserve, a woman who can 
ride like that. No; stay with him, and we'll jog along to 
the quarry." He chuckled. "Say, he actually gave just 
the least mite of a groan that last time you fetched him. 
Did you hear it? And did you see the way he dropped his 



230 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

feet to the road — just like he'd struck a stone wall. And 
he's got savvee enough to know from now on that that 
same stone wall will be always there ready for him to lam 
into." 

When he parted from her that afternoon, at the gate of 
the road that led to Berkeley, he drew off to the edge of the 
intervening clump of trees, where, unobserved, he watched 
her out of sight. Then, turning to ride back into Oakland, 
a thought came to him that made him grin ruefully as he 
muttered: "And now it's up to me to make good and buy 
that blamed quarry. Nothing less than that can give me 
an excuse for snooping around these hills." 

But the quarry was doomed to pass out of his plans for a 
time, for on the following Sunday he rode alone. No Dede 
on a chestnut sorrel came across the back-road from Berke- 
ley that day, nor the day a week later. Daylight was 
beside himself with impatience and apprehension, though 
in the office he contained himself. He noted no change in 
her, and strove to let none show in himself. The same old 
monotonous routine went on, though now it was irritating 
and maddening. Daylight found a big quarrel on his 
hands with a world that wouldn't let a man behave toward 
his stenographer after the way of all men and women. 
What was the good of owning millions anyway? he de- 
manded one day of the desk-calendar, as she passed out 
after receiving his dictation. 

As the third week drew to a close and another desolate 
Sunday confronted him. Daylight resolved to speak, office 
or no office. And as was his nature, he went simply and 
directly to the point. She had finished her work with him, 
and was gathering her note pad and pencils together to 
depart, when he said: — 

"Oh, one thing more, Miss Mason, and I hope you won't 
mind my being frank and straight out. You've struck me 
right along as a sensible-minded girl, and I don't think 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 23 1 

you'll take offence at what I'm going to say. You know how 
long you've been in the office — it's years, now, several 
of them, anyway; and you know I've always been straight 
and aboveboard with you. I've never what you call — 
presumed. Because you were in my office I've tried to be 
more careful than if — if you wasn't in my office — you 
understand. But just the same, it don't make me any the 
less human. I'm a lonely sort of a fellow — don't take that 
as a bid for kindness. What I mean by it is to try and tell 
you just how much those two rides with you have meant. 
And now I hope you won't mind my just asking why you 
haven't been out riding the last two Sundays?" 

He came to a stop and waited, feeling very warm and 
awkward, the perspiration starting in tiny beads on his 
forehead. She did not speak immediately, and he stepped 
across the room and raised the window higher. 

"I have been riding," she answered; "in other direc- 
tions." 

"But why . . .?" He failed somehow to complete the 
question. "Go ahead and be frank with me," he urged. 
"Just as frank as I am with you. Why didn't you ride in 
the Piedmont hills? I hunted for you everywhere." 

"And that is just why." She smiled, and looked him 
straight in the eyes for a moment, then dropped her own. 
"Surely, you understand, Mr. Harnish." 

He shook his head glumly. 

"I do, and I don't. I ain't used to city ways by a long 
shot. There's things one mustn't do, which I don't mind as 
long as I don't want to do them." 

"But when you do?" she asked quickly. 

"Then I do them." His lips had drawn firmly with this 
affirmation of will, but the next instant he was amending 
the statement: "That is, I mostly do. But what gets me 
is the things you mustn't do when they're not wrong and 
they won't hurt anybody — this riding, for instance." 



232 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

She played nervously with a pencil for a time, as if debat- 
ing her reply, while he waited patiently. 

"This riding," she began; "it's not what they call the 
right thing, I leave it to you. You know the world. You 
are Mr, Harnish, the millionaire — " 

"Gambler," he broke in harshly. 

She nodded acceptance of his term and went on. 

"And I'm a stenographer in your office — " 

"You're a thousand times better than me — " he at- 
tempted to interpolate, but was in turn interrupted. 

"It isn't a question of such things. It's a simple and 
fairly common situation that must be considered, I work 
for you. And it isn't what you or I might think, but what 
other persons will think. And you don't need to be told 
any more about that. You know yourself." 

Her cool, matter-of-fact speech belied her — or so Day- 
light thought, looking at her perturbed feminineness, at 
the rounded lines of her figure, the breast that deeply rose 
and fell, and at the color that was now excited in her cheeks. 

"I'm sorry I frightened you out of your favorite stamp- 
ing ground," he said rather aimlessly. 

"You didn't frighten me," she retorted, with a touch of 
fire. "I'm not a silly seminary girl. I've taken care of 
myself for a long time now, and I've done it without being 
frightened. We were together two Sundays, and I'm sure I 
wasn't frightened of Bob, or you. It isn't that. I have no 
fears of taking care of myself, but the world insists on tak- 
ing care of one as well. That's the trouble. It's what the 
world would have to say about me and my employer meet- 
ing regularly and riding in the hills on Sundays. It's funny, 
but it's so, I could ride with one of the clerks without 
remark, but with you — no," 

"But the world don't know and don't need to know," he 
cried, 

"Which makes it worse, in a way, feeling guilty of nothing 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 233 

and yet sneaking around back-roads with all the feeling of 
doing something wrong. It would be finer and braver for 
me publicly . . ." 

"To go to lunch with me on a week-day," Daylight said, 
divining the drift of her uncompleted argument. 

She nodded. 

"I didn't have that quite in mind, but it will do. I'd 
prefer doing the brazen thing and having everybody know 
it, to doing the furtive thing and being found out. Not 
that I'm asking to be invited to lunch," she added, with a 
smile; "but I'm sure you understand my position." 

"Then why not ride open and aboveboard with me in 
the hills?" he urged. 

She shook her head with what he imagined was just the 
faintest hint of regret, and he went suddenly and almost 
maddeningly hungry for her. 

"Look here, Miss Mason, I know you don't like this 
talking over of things in the office. Neither do I. It's 
part of the whole thing, I guess; a man ain't supposed to 
talk anything but business with his stenographer. Will 
you ride with me next Sunday, and we can talk it over 
thoroughly then and reach some sort of a conclusion. Out 
in the hills is the place where you can talk something besides 
business. I guess you've seen enough of me to know I'm 
pretty square. I — I do honor and respect you, and . . . 
and all that, and I . . ." He was beginning to flounder, 
and the hand that rested on the desk blotter was visibly 
trembling. He strove to pull himself together. "I just 
want to harder than anything ever in my life before. I 
— I — I can't explain myself, but I do, that's all. Will 
you? — Just next Sunday? To-morrow?" 

Nor did he dream that her low acquiescence was due, as 
much as anything else, to the beads of sweat on his fore- 
head, his trembling hand, and his all too-evident general 
distress. 



CHAPTER XIV 

"Of course, there's no way of telling what anybody wants 
from what they say." Daylight rubbed Bob's rebellious 
ear with his quirt and pondered with dissatisfaction the 
words he had just uttered. They did not say what he had 
meant them to say. ''What I'm driving at is that you say 
flatfooted that you won't meet me again, and you give your 
reasons, but how am I to know they are your real reasons? 
Mebbe you just don't want to get acquainted with me, and 
won't say so for fear of hurting my feelings. Don't you see? 
I'm the last man in the world to shove in where I'm not 
wanted. And if I thought you didn't care a whoop to see 
anything more of me, why, I'd clear out so blamed quick 
you couldn't see me for smoke." 

Dede smiled at him in acknowledgment of his words, but 
rode on silently. And that smile, he thought, was the most 
sweetly wonderful smile he had ever seen. There was a 
difference in it, he assured himself, from any smile she had 
ever given him before. It was the smile of one who knew 
him just a little bit, of one who was just the least mite 
acquainted with him. Of course, he checked himself up the 
next moment, it was unconscious on her part. It was sure 
to come in the intercourse of any two persons. Any stran- 
ger, a business man, a clerk, anybody after a few casual 
meetings would show similar signs of friendliness. It was 
bound to happen, but in her case it made more impression 
on him; and, besides, it was such a sweet and wonderful 
smile. Other women he had known had never smiled like 
that; he was sure of it. 

234 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 235 

It had been a happy day. Daylight had met her on the 
back-road from Berkeley, and they had had hours together. 
It was only now, with the day drawing to a close and with 
them approaching the gate of the road to Berkeley, that he 
had broached the important subject. 

She began her answer to his last contention, and he lis- 
tened gratefully. 

"But suppose, just suppose, that the reasons I have given 
are the only ones? — that there is no question of my not 
wanting to know you?" 

"Then I'd go on urging like Sam Scratch," he said 
quickly. "Because, you see, I've always noticed that folks 
that incline to anything are much more open to hearing the 
case stated. But if you did have that other reason up 
your sleeve, if you didn't want to know me, if — if, well, 
if you thought my feelings oughtn't to be hurt just because 
you had a good job with me . . ." Here, his calm consid- 
eration of a possibility was swamped by the fear that it was 
an actuality, and he lost the thread of his reasoning. "Well, 
anyway, all you have to do is to say the word and I'll clear 
out. And with no hard feelings; it would be just a case of 
bad luck for me. So be honest. Miss Mason, please, and 
tell me if that's the reason — I almost got a hunch that it 
is." 

She glanced up at him, her eyes abruptly and slightly 
moist, half with hurt, half with anger. 

"Oh, but that isn't fair," she cried. "You give me the 
choice of lying to you and hurting you in order to protect 
myself by getting rid of you, or of throwing away my pro- 
tection by telling you the truth, for then you, as you said 
yourself, would stay and urge." 

Her cheeks were flushed, her lips tremulous, but she con^ 
tinued to look him frankly in the eyes. 

Daylight smiled grimly with satisfaction. 

"I'm real glad. Miss Mason, real glad for those words." 



236 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"But they won't serve you," she went on hastily. "They 
can't serve you. I refuse to let them. This is our last 
ride, and . . . here is the gate." 

Ranging her mare alongside, she bent, slid the catch, and 
followed the opening gate. 

"No; please, no," she said, as Daylight started to follow. 

Humbly acquiescent, he pulled Bob back, and the gate 
swung shut between them. But there was more to say, and 
she did not ride on. 

"Listen, Miss Mason," he said, in a low voice that shook 
with sincerity; "I want to assure you of one thing. I'm 
not just trying to fool around with you. I like you, I want 
you, and I was never more in earnest in my life. There's 
nothing wrong in my intentions or anything like that. What 
I mean is strictly honorable — " 

But the expression of her face made him stop. She was 
angry, and she was laughing at the same time. 

"The last thing you should have said," she cried. "It's 
like a — a matrimonial bureau : intentions strictly honor- 
able; object, matrimony. But it's no more than I deserved. 
This is what I suppose you call urging like Sam Scratch." 

The tan had bleached out of Daylight's skin since the 
time he came to live under city roofs, so that the flush of 
blood showed redly as it crept up his neck past the collar 
and overspread his face. Nor in his exceeding discomfort 
did he dream that she was looking upon him at that moment 
with more kindness than at any time that day. It was not 
in her experience to behold big grown-up men who blushed 
like boys, and already she repented the sharpness into 
which she had been surprised. 

"Now, look here. Miss Mason," he began, slowly and 
stumblingly at first, but accelerating into a rapidity of 
utterance that was almost incoherent; "I'm a rough sort 
of a man, I know that, and I know I don't know much of 
anything. I've never had any training in nice things. I've 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 237 

never made love before, and I've never been in love before 
either — and I don't know how to go about it any more than 
a thundering idiot. What you want to do is get behind 
my tomfool words and get a feel of the man that's behind 
them. That's me, and I mean all right, if I don't know how 
to go about it." 

Dede Mason had quick, birdlike ways, almost flitting 
from mood to mood; and she was all contrition on the 
instant. 

"Forgive me for laughing," she said across the gate. 
"It wasn't really laughter. I was surprised off my guard, 
and hurt, too. You see, Mr. Harnish, I've not been . . ." 

She paused, in sudden fear of completing the thought 
into which her birdhke precipitancy had betrayed her. 

"What you mean is that you've not been used to such 
sort of proposing," Daylight said; "a sort of on-the-run, 
'Howdy, glad-to-make-your-acquaintance, won't-you-be- 
mine' proposition." 

She nodded and broke into laughter, in which he joined, 
and which served to pass the awkwardness away. He 
gathered heart at this, and went on in greater confidence, 
with cooler head and tongue. 

"There, you see, you prove my case. You've had ex- 
perience in such matters. I don't doubt you've had slathers 
of proposals. Well, I haven't, and I'm like a fish out of 
water. Besides, this ain't a proposal. It's a peculiar situa- 
tion, that's all, and I'm in a corner. I've got enough plain 
horse-sense to know a man ain't supposed to argue marriage 
with a girl as a reason for getting acquainted with her. 
And right there was where I was in the hole. Number 
one, I can't get acquainted with you in the office. Number 
two, you say you won't see me out of the office to give me 
a chance. Number three, your reason is that folks will 
talk because you work for me. Number four, I just got to 
get acquainted with you, and I just got to get you to see 



238 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

that I mean fair and all right. Number five, there you 
are on one side the gate getting ready to go, and me here on 
the other side the gate pretty desperate and bound to say 
something to make you reconsider. Number six, I said it. 
And now and finally, I just do want you to reconsider." 

And, listening to him, pleasuring in the sight of his ear- 
nest, perturbed face and in the simple, homely phrases that 
but emphasized his earnestness and marked the difference 
between him and the average run of men she had known, 
she forgot to listen and lost herself in her own thoughts. 
The love of a strong man is ever a lure to a normal woman, 
and never more strongly did Dede feel the lure than now, 
looking across the closed gate at Burning Daylight. Not 
that she would ever dream of marrying him — she had a 
score of reasons against it; but why not at least see more 
of him? He was certainly not repulsive to her. On the 
contrary, she Uked him, had always liked him from the day 
she had first seen him and looked upon his lean Indian 
face and into his flashing Indian eyes. He was a figure of 
a man in more ways than his mere magnificent muscles. 
Besides, Romance had gilded him, this doughty, rough- 
hewn adventurer of the North, this man of many deeds 
and many millions, w^ho had come down out of the Arctic 
to wrestle and fight so masterfully with the men of the 
South. 

Savage as a Red Indian, gamb^r and profligate, a man 
without morals, whose vengeance was never glutted and 
who stamped on the faces of all who opposed him — oh, yes, 
she knew all the hard names he had been called. Yet she 
was not afraid of him. There was more than that in the 
connotation of his name. Burning Daylight called up other 
things as well. They were there in the newspapers, the 
magazines, and the books on the Klondike. When all was 
said. Burning Daylight had a mighty connotation — one to 
touch any woman's imagination, as it touched hers, the gate 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 239 

between them, listening to the wistful and impassioned 
simplicity of his speech. Dede was after all a woman, with 
a woman's sex-vanity, and it was this vanity that was 
pleased by the fact that such a man turned in his need to 
her. 

And there was more that passed through her mind — 
sensations of tiredness and loneliness ; trampling squadrons 
and shadowy armies of vague feelings and vaguer prompt- 
ings; and deeper and dimmer whisperings and echoings, 
the flutterings of forgotten generations crystallized into 
being and fluttering anew and always, undreamed and 
unguessed, subtle and potent, the spirit and essence of life 
that under a thousand deceits and masks forever makes 
for Ufe. It was a strong temptation, just to ride with this 
man in the hills. It would be that only and nothing more, 
for she was firmly convinced that his way of life could never 
be her way. On the other hand, she was vexed by none of 
the ordinary feminine fears and timidities. That she could 
take care of herself under any and all circumstances she 
never doubted. Then why not? It was such a little thing, 
after all. 

She led an ordinary, humdrum life at best. She ate and 
slept and worked, and that was about all. As if in review, 
her anchorite existence passed before her: six days of the 
week spent in the office and in journeying back and forth on 
the ferry; the hours stolen before bedtime for snatches of 
song at the piano, for doing her own special laundering, for 
sewing and mending and casting up of meagre accounts; 
the two evenings a week of social diversion she permitted 
herself; the other stolen hours and Saturday afternoons 
spent with her brother at the hospital ; and the seventh day, 
Sunday, her day of solace, on Mab's back, out among the 
blessed hills. But it was lonely, this solitary riding. No- 
body of her acquaintance rode. Several girls at the Uni- 
versity had been persuaded into trying it, but after a Sun- 



240 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

day or two on hired livery hacks they had lost interest. 
There was Madeline, who bought her own horse and rode 
enthusiastically for several months, only to get married and 
go away to live in Southern California. After years of it, 
one did get tired of this eternal riding alone. 

He was such a boy, this big giant of a milHonaire who had 
half the rich men of San Francisco afraid of him. Such a 
boy! She had never imagined this side of his nature. 

''How do folks get married?" he was saying. "Why, 
number one, they meet; number two, like each other's 
looks; number three, get acquainted; and number four, 
get married or not, according to how they like each other 
after getting acquainted. But how in thunder we're to 
have a chance to find out whether we like each other enough 
is beyond my sawee, unless we make that chance ourselves. 
I'd come to see you, call on you, only I know you're just 
rooming or boarding, and that won't do." 

Suddenly, with a change of mood, the situation appeared 
to Dede ridiculously absurd. She felt a desire to laugh — 
not angrily, not hysterically, but just jollily. It was so 
funny. Herself, the stenographer, he, the notorious and 
powerful gambling millionaire, and the gate between them 
across which poured his argument of people getting ac- 
quainted and married. Also, it was an impossible situation. 
On the face of it, she could not go on with it. This pro- 
gramme of furtive meetings in the hills would have to dis- 
continue. There would never be another meeting. And if, 
denied this, he tried to woo her in the office, she would be 
compelled to lose a very good position, and that would be an 
end of the episode. It was not nice to contemplate ; but the 
world of men, especially in the cities, she had not found 
particularly nice. She had not worked for her living for 
years without losing a great many of her illusions. 

"We won't do any sneaking or hiding around about it," 
Daylight was explaining. "We'll ride around as bold as 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 24! 

you please, and if anybody sees us, why, let them. If they 
talk — well, so long as our consciences are straight we 
needn't worry. Say the word, and Bob will have on his 
back the happiest man alive." 

She shook her head, pulled in the mare, who was im- 
patient to be off for home, and glanced significantly at the 
lengthening shadows. 

"It's getting late now, anyway," Daylight hurried on, 
"and we've settled nothing after all. Just one more Sun- 
day, anyway — that's not asking much — to settle it in." 

"We've had all day," she said. 

"But we started to talk it over too late. We'll tackle it 
earlier next time. This is a big serious proposition with 
me, I can tell you. Say next Sunday ?"^ 

"Are men ever fair?" she asked. "You know thoroughly 
well that by 'next Sunday' you mean many Sundays." 

"Then let it be many Sundays," he cried recklessly, while 
she thought that she had never seen him looking hand- 
somer. "Say the word. Only say the word. Next Sunday 
at the quarry ..." 

She gathered the reins into her hand preliminary to 
starting. 

"Good night," she said, "and — " 

"Yes," he whispered, with just the faintest touch of im- 
perativeness. 

"Yes," she said, her voice low but distinct. 

At the same moment she put the mare into a canter and 
went down the road without a backward glance, intent on 
an analysis of her own feelings. With her mind made up 
to say no — and to the last instant she had been so re- 
solved — her lips nevertheless had said yes. Or at least it 
seemed the lips. She had not intended to consent. Then 
why had she? Her first surprise and bewilderment at go 
wholly unpremeditated an act gave way to consternation 
as she considered its consequences. She knew that Burn- 



242 BUENING DAYLIGHT 

ing Daylight was not a man to be trifled with, that under 
his simplicity and boyishness he was essentially a dominant, 
male creature, and that she had pledged herself to a future 
of inevitable stress and storm. And again she demanded 
of herself why she had said yes at the very moment when 
it had been farthest from her intention. 



CHAPTER XV 

Life at the office went on much the way it had always 
gone. Never, by word or look, did they acknowledge that 
the situation was in any wise different from what it had al- 
ways been. Each Sunday saw the arrangement made for the 
following Sunday's ride ; nor was this ever referred to in the 
office. Daylight was fastidiously chivalrous on this point. 
He did not want to lose her from the office. The sight of her 
at her work was to him an undiminishing joy. Nor did 
he abuse this by lingering over dictation or by devising 
extra work that would detain her longer before his eyes. But 
over and beyond such sheer selfishness of conduct was his 
love of fair play. He scorned to utilize the accidental ad- 
vantages of the situation. Somewhere within him was a 
higher appraisement of love than mere possession. He 
wanted to be loved for himself, with a fair field for both 
sides. 

On the other hand, had he been the most artful of 
schemers he could not have pursued a wiser policy. Bird- 
like in her love of individual freedom, the last woman in the 
world to be bullied in her affections, she keenly appreciated 
the niceness of his attitude. She did this consciously, but 
deeper than all consciousness, and intangible as gossamer, 
were the effects of this. All unrealizable, save for some su- 
preme moment, did the web of Daylight's personality creep 
out and around her. Filament by filament, these secret 
and undreamable bonds were being established. They it 
was that could have given the cue to her saying yes when she 
had meant to say no. And in some such fashion, in some 

243 



244 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

future crisis of greater moment, might she not, in violation 
of all dictates of sober judgment, give another uninten- 
tional consent? 

Among other good things resulting from his growing in- 
timacy with Dede, was Daylight's not caring to drink so 
much as formerly. There was a lessening in desire for 
alcohol of which even he at last became aware. In a way, 
she herself was the needed inhibition. The thought of her 
was like a cocktail. Or, at any rate, she substituted for a 
certain percentage of cocktails. From the strain of his 
unnatural city existence and of his intense gambling opera- 
tions, he had drifted on to the cocktail route. A wall must 
forever be built to give him easement from the high pitch, 
and Dede became a part of this wall. Her personality, her 
laughter, the intonations of her voice, the impossible golden 
glow of her eyes, the light on her hair, her form, her dress, 
her actions on horseback, her merest physical mannerisms 
— all, pictured over and over in his mind and dwelt upon, 
served to take the place of many a cocktail or long Scotch 
and soda. 

In spite of their high resolve, there was a very measurable 
degree of the furtive in their meetings. In essence, these 
meetings were stolen. They did not ride out brazenly to- 
gether in the face of the world. On the contrary, they met 
always unobserved, she riding across the many-gated back- 
road from Berkeley to meet him halfway. Nor did they 
ride on any save unfrequented roads, preferring to cross the 
second range of hills and travel among a church-going 
farmer folk who would scarcely have recognized even Day- 
light from his newspaper photographs. 

He found Dede a good horsewoman — good not merely 
in riding but in endurance. There were days when they 
covered sixty, seventy, and even eighty miles; nor did 
Dede ever claim any day too long, nor — another strong 
recommendation to Daylight — did the hardest day ever 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 245 

see the slightest chafe of the chestnut sorrel's back. "A 
sure enough hummer," was Daylight's stereotyped but ever 
enthusiastic verdict to himself. 

They learned much of each other on these long, uninter- 
rupted rides. They had nothing much to talk about but 
themselves, and, while she received a liberal education con- 
cerning Arctic travel and gold-mining, he, in turn, touch by 
touch, painted an ever clearer portrait of her. She amphfied 
the ranch life of her girlhood, prattling on about horses and 
dogs and persons and things until it was as if he saw the 
whole process of her growth and her becoming. All this 
he was able to trace on through the period of her father's 
failure and death, when she had been compelled to leave the 
university and go into office work. The brother, too, she 
spoke of, and of her long struggle to have him cured and of 
her now fading hopes. Daylight decided that it was easier 
to come to an understanding of her than he had anticipated, 
though he was always aware that behind and under all he 
knew of her was the mysterious and baffling woman and sex. 
There, he was humble enough to confess to himself, was a 
chartless, shoreless sea, about which he knew nothing and 
which he must nevertheless somehow navigate. 

His lifelong fear of woman had originated out of non- 
understanding and had also prevented him from reaching 
any understanding. Dede on horseback, Dede gathering 
poppies on a summer hillside, Dede taking down dictation 
in her swift shorthand strokes — all this was comprehensible 
to him. But he did not know the Dede who so quickly 
changed from mood to mood, the Dede who refused stead- 
fastly to ride with him and then suddenly consented, the 
Dede in whose eyes the golden glow forever waxed and 
waned and whispered hints and messages that were not for 
his ears. In all such things he saw the glimmering pro- 
fundities of sex, acknowledged their lure, and accepted 
them as incomprehensible. 



246 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

There was another side of her, too, of which he was con- 
sciously ignorant. She knew the books, was possessed of 
that mysterious and awful thing called "culture." And 
yet, what continually surprised him was that this culture 
was never obtruded on their intercourse. She did not talk 
books, nor art, nor similar folderols. Homely minded as 
he was himself, he found her almost equally homely minded. 
She liked the simple and the out-of-doors, the horses and 
the hills, the sunlight and the flowers. He found himself in 
a partly new flora, to which she was the guide, pointing out 
to him all the varieties of the oaks, making him acquainted 
with the madroiio and the manzanita, teaching him the 
names, habits, and habitats of unending series of wild 
flowers, shrubs, and ferns. Her keen woods eye was another 
delight to him. It had been trained in the open, and little 
escaped it. One day, as a test, they strove to see which could 
discover the greater number of birds' nests. And he, who 
had always prided himself on his own acutely trained ob- 
servation, found himself hard put to keep his score ahead. 
At the end of the day he was but three nests in the lead, one 
of which she challenged stoutly and of which even he con- 
fessed serious doubt. He complimented her and told her 
that her success must be due to the fact that she was a bird 
herself, with all a bird's keen vision and quick-flashing ways. 

The more he knew her the more he became convinced 
of this birdlike quality in her. That was why she liked to 
ride, he argued. It was the nearest approach to flying. A 
field of poppies, a glen of ferns, a row of poplars on a coun- 
try lane, the tawny brown of a hillside, the shaft of sunhght 
on a distant peak — all such were provocative of quick joys 
which seemed to him. like so many outbursts of song. Her 
joys were in little things, and she seemed always singing. 
Even in sterner things it was the same. When she rode Bob 
and fought with that magnificent brute for mastery, the 
qualities of an eagle were uppermost in her. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 247 

These quick little joys of hers were sources of joy to him. 
He joyed in her joy, his eyes as excitedly fixed on her as 
hers were fixed on the object of her attention. Also through 
her he came to a closer discernment and keener apprecia- 
tion of nature. She showed him colors in the landscape that 
he would never have dreamed were there. He had known 
only the primary colors. All colors of red were red. Black 
was black, and brown was just plain brown until it became 
yellow, when it was no longer brown. Purple he had always 
imagined was red, something like blood, until she taught him 
better. Once they rode out on a high hill brow where wind- 
blown poppies blazed about their horses' knees, and she was 
in an ecstasy over the lines of the many distances. Seven, 
she counted, and he, who had gazed on landscapes all his 
life, for the first time learned what a "distance" was. After 
that, and always, he looked upon the face of nature with a 
more seeing eye, learning a delight of his own in surveying 
the serried ranks of the upstanding ranges, and in slow con- 
templation of the purple summer mists that haunted the 
languid creases of the distant hills. 

But through it all ran the golden thread of love. At first 
be had been content just to ride with Dede and to be on 
comradely terms with her; but the desire and the need for 
her increased. The more he knew of her, the higher was his 
appraisal. Had she been reserved and haughty with him, or 
been merely a giggling, simpering creature of a woman, it 
would have been different. Instead, she amazed him with 
her simplicity and wholesomeness, with her great store of 
comradeliness. This latter was the unexpected. He had 
never looked upon woman in that way. Woman, the toy; 
woman, the harpy; woman, the necessary wife and mother 
of the race's offspring, — all this had been his expectation 
and understanding of woman. But woman, the comrade 
and playfellow and joyfellow — this was what Dede had 
surprised him in. And the more she became worth while. 



248 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

the more ardently his love burned, unconsciously shading 
his voice with caresses, and with equal unconsciousness 
flaring up signal fires in his eyes. Nor was she bhnd to it, 
yet, like many women before her, she thought to play with 
the pretty fire and escape the consequent conflagration. 

"Winter will soon be coming on," she said regretfully, 
and with provocation, one day, "and then there won't be 
any more riding." 

"But I must see you in the winter just the same," he 
cried hastily. 

She shook her head. 

"We have been very happy and all that," she said, look- 
ing at him with steady frankness. "I remember your fool- 
ish argument for getting acquainted, too; but it won't lead 
to anything; it can't. I know myself too well to be mis- 
taken." 

Her face was serious, even solicitous with desire not to 
hurt, and her eyes were unwavering, but in them was the 
light, golden and glowing — the abyss of sex into which he 
was now unafraid to gaze. 

"I've been pretty good," he declared. "I leave it to you 
if I haven't. It's been pretty hard, too, I can tell you. 
You just think it over. Not once have I said a word about 
love to you, and me loving you all the time. That's going 
some for a man that's used to having his own way. I'm 
somewhat of a rusher when it comes to travelhng. I reckon 
I'd rush God Almighty if it came to a race over the ice. 
And yet I didn't rush you. I guess this fact is an indica- 
tion of how much I do love you. Of course I want you to 
marry me. Have I said a word about it, though? Nary a 
chirp, nary a flutter. I've been quiet and good, though it's 
almost made me sick at times, this keeping quiet. I haven't 
asked you to marry me. I'm not asking you now. Oh, not 
but what you satisfy me. I sure know you're the wife for 
me. But how about myself? Do you know me well enough 



BURNING DAYLIGHT ^49 

to know your own mind?" He shrugged his shoulders. "I 
don't know, and I ain't going to take chances on it now. 
You've got to know for sure whether you think you could 
get along with me or not, and I'm playing a slow conser- 
vative game. I ain't a-going to lose for overlooking my 
hand." 

This was love-making of a sort beyond Dede's experience. 
Nor had she ever heard of anything like it. Furthermore, 
its lack of ardor carried with it a shock which she could 
overcome only by remembering the way his hand had trem- 
bled in the past, and by remembering the passion she had 
seen that very day and every day in his eyes, or heard in 
nis voice. Then, too, she recollected what he had said to 
her weeks before: "Maybe you don't know what patience 
is," he had said, and thereat told her of shooting squirrels 
with a big rifle the time he and Elijah Davis had starved 
on the Stewart River. 

"So you see," he urged, "just for a square deal we've 
got to see some more of each other this winter. Most likely 
your mind ain't made up yet — " 

"But it is," she interrupted. "I wouldn't dare permit 
myself to care for you. Happiness, for me, would not lie 
that way. I like you, Mr. Harnish, and all that, but it can 
never be more than that." 

"It's because you don't like my way of living," he 
charged, thinking in his own mind of the sensational joy- 
rides and general profligacy with which the newspapers had 
credited him — thinking this, and wondering whether or 
not, in maiden modesty, she would disclaim knowledge of it. 

To his surprise, her answer was flat and uncompromising. 

"No; I don't." 

"I know I've been brash on some of those rides that got 
into the papers," he began his defence, "and that I've been 
travelling with a lively crowd — " 

"I don't mean that," she said, "though I know about it. 



2 50 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

too, and can^t say that I like it. But it is your life in gen- 
eral, your business. There are women in the world who 
could marry a man like you and be happy, but I couldn't. 
And the more I cared for such a man, the more unhappy I 
should be. You see, my unhappiness, in turn, would tend to 
make him unhappy. I should make a mistake, and he would 
make an equal mistake, though his would not be so hard on 
him because he would still have his business." 

"Business!" Daylight gasped. "What's wrong with my 
business? I play fair and square. There's nothing under- 
hand about it, which can't be said of most businesses, 
whether of the big corporations or of the cheating, lying, 
little corner-grocerymen. I play the straight rules of the 
game, and I don't have to lie or cheat or break my word." 

Dede hailed with relief the change in the conversation 
and at the same time the opportunity to speak her mind. 

"In ancient Greece," she began pedantically, "a man was 
judged a good citizen who built houses, planted trees — " 
She did not complete the quotation, but drew the conclu- 
sion hurriedly. "How many houses have you built? How 
many trees have you planted?" 

He shook his head non-committally, for he had not 
grasped the drift of the argument. 

"Well," she went on, "two winters ago you cornered 
coal — " 

"Just locally," he grinned reminiscently, "just locally. 
And I took advantage of the car shortage and the strike in 
British Columbia." 

"But you didn't dig any of that coal yourself. Yet you 
forced it up four dollars a ton and made a lot of money. 
That was your business. You made the poor people pay 
more for their coal. You played fair, as you said, but you 
put your hands down into all their pockets and took their 
money away from them. I know. I burn a grate fire in 
my sitting-room at Berkeley. And instead of eleven dollars 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 2$! 

a ton for Rock Wells, I paid fifteen dollars that winter. 
You robbed me of four dollars. I could stand it. But there 
were thousands of the very poor who could not stand it. 
You might call it legal gambling, but to me it was down- 
right robbery," 

Daylight was not abashed. This was no revelation to 
him. He remembered the old woman who made wine in 
the Sonoma hills and the millions like her who were made 
to be robbed. 

"Now look here. Miss Mason, you've got me there 
slightly, I grant. But you've seen me in business a long 
time now, and you know I don't make a practice of raiding 
the poor people. I go after the big fellows. They're my 
meat. They rob the poor, and I rob them. That coal deal 
was an accident. I wasn't after the poor people in that, but 
after the big fellows, and I got them, too. The poor people 
happened to get in the way and got hurt, that was all. 

"Don't you see," he went on, "the whole game is a gam- 
ble. Everybody gambles in one way or another. The 
farmer gambles against the weather and the market on his 
crops. So does the United States Steel Corporation. The 
business of lots of men is straight robbery of the poor peo- 
ple. But I've never made that my business. You know 
that. I've always gone after the robbers." 

"I missed my point," she admitted. "Wait a minute."* 

And for a space they rode in silence. 

"I see it more clearly than I can state it, but it's some- 
thing like this. There is legitimate work, and there's work 
that — well, that isn't legitimate. The farmer works the 
soil and produces grain. He's making something that is 
good for humanity. He actually, in a way, creates some- 
thing, the grain that will fill the mouths of the hungry." 

"And then the railroads and market-riggers and the rest 
proceed to rob him of that same grain,"' Daylight broke in. 

Dede smiled and held up her hand. 



252 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"Wait a minute. You'll make me lose my point. It 
doesn't hurt if they rob him of all of it so that he starves to 
death. The point is that the wheat he grew is still in the 
world. It exists. Don't you see? The farmer created 
something, say ten tons of wheat, and those ten tons exist. 
The railroads haul the wheat to market, to the mouths that 
will eat it. This also is legitimate. It's like some one bring- 
ing you a glass of water, or taking a cinder out of your eye. 
Something has been done, in a way been created, just like 
the wheat." 

"But the railroads rob like Sam Scratch," Daylight 
objected. 

"Then the work they do is partly legitimate and partly 
not. Now we come to you. You don't create anything. 
Nothing new exists when you're done with your business, 
Just hke the coal. You didn't dig it. You didn't haul it 
to market. You didn't deliver it. Don't you see? That's 
what I meant by planting the trees and building the houses. 
You haven't planted one tree nor built a single house." 

"I never guessed there was a woman in the world who 
could talk business like that," he murmured admiringly. 
"And you've got me on that point. But there's a lot to be 
said on my side just the same. Now you listen to me. I'm 
going to talk under three heads. Number one: We live a 
short time, the best of us, and we're a long time dead. Life 
is a big gambling game. Some are born lucky and some are 
born unlucky. Everybody sits in at the table, and every- 
body tries to rob everybody else. Most of them get robbed. 
They're born suckers. A fellow like me comes along and 
sizes up the proposition. I've got two choices. I can herd 
with the suckers, or I can herd with the robbers. As a 
sucker, I win nothing. Even the crusts of bread are 
snatched out of my mouth by the robbers. I work hard all 
my days, and die working. And I ain't never had a flutter. 
I've had nothing but work, work. work. They talk about 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 253 

the dignity of labor. I tell you there ain't no dignity in that 
sort of labor. My other choice is to herd with the robbers, 
and I herd with them. I play that choice wide open to win. 
I get the automobiles, and the porterhouse steaks, and the 
soft beds. 

"Number two: There ain't much difference between 
playing halfway robber like the railroad hauling that farm- 
er's wheat to market, and playing all robber and robbing 
the robbers like I do. And, besides, halfway robbery is too 
slow a game for me to sit in. You don't win quick enough 
for me." 

"But what do you want to win for?" Dede demanded. 
"You have millions and millions, already. You can't ride 
in more than one automobile at a time, sleep in more than 
one bed at a time." 

"Number three answers that," he said, "and here it is: 
Men and things are so made that they have different likes. 
A rabbit likes a vegetarian diet. A lynx likes meat. Ducks 
swim; chickens are scairt of water. One man collects pos- 
tage stamps, another man collects butterflies. This man 
goes in for paintings, that man goes in for yachts, and 
some other fellow for hunting big game. One man thinks 
horse-racing is It, with a big I, and another man finds the 
biggest satisfaction in actresses. They can't help these 
likes. They have them, and what are they going to do 
about it? Now I like gambling. I like to play the game. 
I want to play it big and play it quick. I'm just made that 
way. And I play it." 

"But why can't you do good with all your money?" 

Daylight laughed. 

"Doing good with your money 1 It's Hke slapping God 
in the face, as much as to tell him that he don't know how 
to run his world and that you'll be much obliged if he'll 
stand out of the way and give you a chance. Thinking 
about God doesn't keep me sitting up nights, so I've got 



2 54 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

another way of looking at it. Ain't it funny, to go around 
with brass knuckles and a big club breaking folks' heads 
and taking their money away from them until I've got a 
pile, and then, repenting of my ways, going around and 
bandaging up the heads the other robbers are breaking? 
I leave it to you. That's what doing good with money 
amounts to. Every once in a while some robber turns soft- 
hearted and takes to driving an ambulance. That's what 
Carnegie did. He smashed heads in pitched battles at 
Homestead, regular wholesale head-breaker he was, held 
up the suckers for a few hundred million, and now he goes 
around dribbling it back to them. Funny? I leave it to 
you." 

He rolled a cigarette and watched her half curiously, 
half amusedly. His replies and harsh generalizations of a 
harsh school were disconcerting, and she came back to her 
earlier position. 

"I can't argue with you, and you know that. No matter 
how right a woman is, men have such a way about them — 
well, what they say sounds most convincing, and yet the 
woman is still certain they are wrong. But there is one 
thing — the creative joy. Call it gambling if you will, 
but just the same it seems to me more satisfying to create 
something, make something, than just to roll dice out of a 
dice-box all day long. Why, sometimes, for exercise, or 
when I've got to pay fifteen dollars for coal, I curry Mab 
and give her a whole half hour's brushing. And when I see 
her coat clean and shining and satiny, I feel a satisfaction 
in what I've done. So it must be with the man who builds 
a house or plants a tree. He can look at it. He made it. 
It's his handiwork. Even if somebody like you comes along 
and takes his tree away from him, still it is there, and still 
did he make it. You can't rob him of that, Mr. Harnish, 
with all your millions. It's the creative joy, and it's a 
higher joy than mere gambling. Haven't you ever made 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 255 

things yourself, — a log cabin up in the Yukon, or a canoe, 
or raft, or something? And don't you remember how 
satisfied you were, how good you felt, while you were doing 
it and after you had it done?" 

While she spoke his memory was busy with the associa- 
tions she recalled. He saw the deserted flat on the river 
bank by the Klondike, and he saw the log cabins and ware- 
houses spring up, and all the log structures he had built, 
and his sawmills working night and day on three shifts. 

"Why, dog-gone it, Miss Mason, you're right — in a way. 
I've built hundreds of houses up there, and I remember I 
was proud and glad to see them go up. I'm proud now, 
when I remember them. And there was Ophir — the most 
God-forsaken moose-pasture of a creek you ever laid eyes 
on. I made that into the big Ophir. Why, I ran the 
water in there from the Rinkabilly, eighty miles away. 
They all said I couldn't, but I did it, and I did it by myself. 
The dam and the flume cost me four million. But you 
should have seen that Ophir — power plants, electric lights, 
and hundreds of men on the pay-roll, working night and 
day. I guess I do get an inkling of what you mean by mak- 
ing a thing. I made Ophir, and by God, she was a sure 
hummer — I beg your pardon. I didn't mean to cuss. But 
that Ophir ! — I sure am proud of her now, just as the last 
time I laid eyes on her." 

"And you won something there that was more than mere 
money," Dede encouraged. "Now do you know what I 
would do if I had lots of money and simply had to go on 
playing at business? Take all the southerly and westerly 
slopes of these bare hills. I'd buy them in and plant eu- 
calyptus on them. I'd do it for the joy of doing it anyway; 
but suppose I had that gambling twist in me which you 
talk about, why, I'd do it just the same and make money 
out of the trees. And there's my other point again. In- 
stead of raising the price of coal without adding an ounce 



256 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

of coal to the market supply, I'd be making thousands and 
thousands of cords of firewood — making something where 
nothing was before. And everybody who ever crossed on 
the ferries would look up at these forested hills and be made 
glad. Who was made glad by your adding four dollars a 
ton to Rock Wells?" 

It was Daylight's turn to be silent for a time while she 
waited an answer. 

"Would you rather I did things like that?" he asked at 
last. 

"It would be better for the world, and better for you," 
she answered non-committally. 



CHAPTER XVI 

All week every one in the office knew that something 
new and big was afoot in Daylight's mind. Beyond some 
deals of no importance, he had not been interested in any- 
thing for several months. But now he went about in an 
almost unbroken brown study, made unexpected and 
lengthy trips across the bay to Oakland, or sat at his desk 
silent and motionless for hours. He seemed particularly 
happy with what occupied his mind. At times men came in 
and conferred with him — and with new faces and differing 
in type from those that usually came to see him. 

On Sunday Dede learned all about it. 

"I've been thinking a lot of our talk," he began, "and 
I've got an idea I'd Hke to give it a flutter. And I've got 
a proposition to make your hair stand up. It's what you 
call legitimate, and at the same time it's the gosh-dangdest 
gamble a man ever went into. How about planting minutes 
wholesale, and making two minutes grow where one minute 
grew before? Oh, yes, and planting a few trees, too — say 
several million of them. You remember the quarry I made 
believe I was looking at? Well, I'm going to buy it. I'm 
going to buy these hills, too, clear from here around to 
Berkeley and down the other way to San Leandro. I own 
a lot of them already, for that matter. But mum is the 
word. I'll be buying a long time to come before anything 
much is guessed about it, and I don't want the market to 
jump up out of sight. You see that hill over there. It's 
my hill running clear down its slopes through Piedmont and 
halfway along those rolling hills into Oakland. And it's 
nothing to all the things I'm going to buy." 

257 



258 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

He paused triumphantly. 

"And all to make two minutes grow where one grew 
before?" Dede queried, at the same time laughing heartily 
at his affectation of mystery. 

He stared at her fascinated. She had such a frank, boy- 
ish way of throwing her head back when she laughed. And 
her teeth were an unending delight to him. Not small, yet 
regular and firm, without a blemish, he considered them 
the healthiest, whitest, prettiest teeth he had ever seen. 
And for months he had been comparing them with the teeth 
of every woman he met. 

It was not until her laughter was over that he was able 
to continue. 

"The ferry system between Oakland and San Francisco 
is the worst one-horse concern in the United States. You 
cross on it every day, six days in the week. That's say, 
twenty-five days a month, or three hundred a year. How 
long does it take you one way? Forty minutes, if you're 
lucky. I'm going to put you across in twenty minutes. If 
that ain't making two minutes grow where one grew before, 
knock off my head with little apples. I'll save you twenty 
minutes each way. That's forty minutes a day, times three 
hundred, equals twelve thousand minutes a year, just for 
you, just for one person. Let's see: that's two hundred 
whole hours. Suppose I save two hundred hours a year 
for thousands of other folks, — that's farming some, ain't 
it?" 

Dede could only nod breathlessly. She had caught the 
contagion of his enthusiasm, though she had no clew as to 
how this great time-saving was to be accomplished. 

"Come on," he said. "Let's ride up that hill, and when 
1 get you out on top where you can see something, I'll talk 
sense." 

A small footpath dropped down to the dry bed of the 
canon, which they crossed before they began the cHmb. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 259 

The slope was steep and covered with matted brush and 
bushes, through which the horses sHpped and lunged. Bob, 
growing disgusted, turned back suddenly and attempted 
to pass Mab. The mare was thrust sidewise into the denser 
bush, where she nearly fell. Recovering, she flung her 
weight against Bob. Both riders' legs were caught in the 
consequent squeeze, and, as Bob plunged ahead down hill, 
Dede was nearly scraped off. Daylight threw his horse 
on to its haunches and at the same time dragged Dede back 
into the saddle. Showers of twigs and leaves fell upon 
them, and predicament followed predicament, until they 
emerged on the hilltop the worse for wear but happy and 
excited. Here no trees obstructed the view. The par- 
ticular hill on which they were, out-jutted from the regular 
line of the range, so that the sweep of their vision extended 
over three-quarters of the circle. Below, on the flat land 
bordering the bay, lay Oakland, and across the bay was San 
Francisco. Between the two cities they could see the white 
ferry-boats on the water. Around to their right was Berke- 
ley, and to their left the scattered villages between Oakland 
and San Leandro. Directly in the foreground was Pied- 
mont, with its desultory dwellings and patches of farming 
land, and from Piedmont the land rolled down in successive 
waves upon Oakland. 

"Look at it," said Daylight, extending his arm in a 
sweeping gesture. "A hundred thousand people there, and 
no reason there shouldn't be half a million. There's the 
chance to make five people grow where one grows now. 
Here's the scheme in a nutshell. Why don't more people 
live in Oakland? No good service with San Francisco, and, 
besides, Oakland is asleep. It's a whole lot better place to 
live in than San Francisco. Now, suppose I buy in all the 
street railways of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, San Lean- 
dro, and the rest, — bring them under one head with a 
competent management? Suppose I cut the time to San 



26o BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Francisco one-half by building a big pier out there almost to 
Goat Island and establishing a ferry system with modern 
up-to-date boats? Why, folks will want to live over on this 
side. Very good. They'll need land on which to build. 
So, first I buy up the land. But the land's cheap now. 
Why? Because it's in the country, no electric roads, no 
quick communication, nobody guessing that the electric 
roads are coming. I'll build the roads. That will make 
the land jump up. Then I'll sell the land as fast as the folks 
will want to buy because of the improved ferry system and 
transportation facilities. 

"You see, I give the value to the land by building the 
roads. Then I sell the land and get that value back, and 
after that, there's the roads, all carrying folks back and 
forth and earning big money. Can't lose. And there's all 
sorts of millions in it. I'm going to get my hands on some 
of that water front and the tide-lands. Take between 
where I'm going to build my pier and the old pier. It's 
shallow water. I can fill and dredge and put in a system 
of docks that will handle hundreds of ships. San Fran- 
cisco's water front is congested. No more room for ships. 
With hundreds of ships loading and unloading on this side 
right into the freight cars of three big railroads, factories 
will start up over here instead of crossing to San Francisco. 
That means factory sites. That means me buying in the 
factory sites before anybody guesses the cat is going to 
jump, much less, which way. Factories mean tens of thou- 
sands of workingmen and their families. That means more 
houses and more land, and that means me, for I'll be there 
to sell them the land. And tens of thousands of families 
means tens of thousands of nickels every day for my elec- 
tric cars. The growing population will mean more stores, 
more banks, more everything. And that'll mean me, for 
I'll be right there with business property as well as home 
property. What do you think of it?" 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 261 

Before she could answer, he was off again, his mind's 
eye filled with this new city of his dream which he builded 
on the Alameda hills by the gateway to the Orient. 

''Do you know — I've been looking it up — the Firth 
of Clyde, where all the steel ships are built, isn't half as 
wide as Oakland Creek down there, where all those old 
hulks lie? Why ain't it a Firth of Clyde? Because the 
Oakland City Council spends its time debating about prunes 
and raisins. What is needed is somebody to see things, and, 
after that, organization. That's me. I didn't make Ophir 
for nothing. And once things begin to hum, outside capital 
will pour in. All I do is start it going. 'Gentlemen,' I say, 
'here's all the natural advantages for a great metropolis. 
God Almighty put them advantages here, and he put me 
here to see them. Do you want to land your tea and silk 
from Asia and ship it straight East? Here's the docks for 
your steamers, and here's the railroads. Do you want 
factories from which you can ship direct by land or water? 
Here's the site, and here's the modern, up-to-date city, with 
the latest improvements for yourselves and your workmen, 
to live in.' 

"Then there's the water. I'll come pretty close to own- 
ing the watershed. Why not the waterworks too? There's 
two water companies in Oakland now, fighting like cats 
and dogs and both about broke. What a metropolis needs 
is a good water system. They can't give it. They're stick- 
in-the-muds. I'll gobble them up and deHver the right 
article to the city. There's money there, too — money 
everywhere. Everything works in with everything else. 
Each improvement makes the value of everything else 
jump up. It's people that are behind the value. The bigger 
the crowd that herds in one place, the more valuable is the 
real estate. And this is the very place for a crowd to herd. 
Look at it. Just look at it! You could never iind a finer 
site for a great city. All it needs is the herd, and I'll stam- 



262 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

pede a couple of hundred thousand people in here inside 
two years. And what's more, it won't be one of these wild- 
cat land booms. It will be legitimate. Twenty years from 
now there'll be a million people on this side the bay. 
Another thing is hotels. There isn't a decent one in the 
town. I'll build a couple of up-to-date ones that'll make 
them sit up and take notice. I won't care if they don't pay 
for years. Their effect will more than give me my money 
back out of the other holdings. And, oh, yes, I'm going to 
plant eucalyptus, millions of them, on these hills." 

"But how are you going to do it?" Dede asked. "You 
haven't enough money for all that you've planned." 

"I've thirty million, and if I need more I can borrow on 
the land and other things. Interest on mortgages won't 
anywhere near eat up the increase in land values, and I'll 
be selling land right along." 

In the weeks that followed, Daylight was a busy man. 
He spent most of his time in Oakland, rarely coming to the 
office. He planned to move the office to Oakland, but, as he 
told Dede, the secret preliminary campaign of buying had 
to be put through first. Sunday by Sunday, now from this 
hilltop and now from that, they looked down upon the city 
and its farming suburbs, and he pointed out to her his 
latest acquisitions. At first it was patches and sections of 
land here and there; but as the weeks passed it was the 
unowned portions that became rare, until at last they stood 
as islands surrounded by Daylight's land. 

It meant quick work on a colossal scale, for Oakland and 
the adjacent country was not slow to feel the tremendous 
buying. But Daylight had the ready cash, and it had 
always been his policy to strike quickly. Before the others 
could get the warning of the boom, he quietly accomplished 
many things. At the same time that his agents were pur- 
chasing corner lots and entire blocks in the heart of the 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 263 

business section and the waste lands for factory sites, Day- 
light was rushing franchises through the city council, cap- 
turing the two exhausted water companies and the eight or 
nine independent street railways, and getting his grip on 
the Oakland Creek and the bay tide-lands for his dock 
system. The tide-lands had been in litigation for years, 
and he took the bull by the horns — buying out the private 
owners and at the same time leasing from the city fathers. 

By the time that Oakland was aroused by this unprece- 
dented activity in every direction and was questioning ex- 
citedly the meaning of it. Daylight secretly bought the chief 
Republican newspaper and the chief Democratic organ, and 
moved boldly into his new offices. Of necessity, they were 
on a large scale, occupying four floors of the only modern 
office building in the town — the only building that wouldn't 
have to be torn down later on, as Dayhght put it. There 
was department after department, a score of them, and hun- 
dreds of clerks and stenographers. As he told Dede: — 

"I've got more companies than you can shake a stick at. 
There's the Alameda & Contra Costa Land Syndicate, the 
Consolidated Street Railways, the Yerba Buena Ferry 
Company, the United Water Company, the Piedmont 
Realty Company, the Fairview and Portola Hotel Com- 
pany, and half a dozen more that I've got to refer to a note- 
book to remember. There's the Piedmont Laundry Farm, 
and Redwood Consolidated Quarries. Starting in with 
our quarry, I just kept a-going till I got them all. And 
there's the ship-building company I ain't got a name for yet. 
Seeing as I had to have ferry-boats, I decided to build them 
myself. They'll be done by the time the pier is ready for 
them. Phewl It all sure beats poker. And I've had the 
fun of gouging the robber gangs as well. The water com- 
pany bunches are squealing yet. I sure got them where 
the hair was short. They were just about all in when I 
came along and finished them off." 



264 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"But why do you hate them so?" Dede asked. 

"Because they're such cowardly skunks." 

"But you play the same game they do." 

"Yes; but not in the same way," Daylight regarded 
her thoughtfully. "When I say cowardly skunks, I mean 
just that, — cowardly skunks. They set up for a lot of 
gamblers, and there ain't one in a thousand of them that's 
got the nerve to be a gambler. They're four-flushers, if you 
know what that means. They're a lot of little cottontail 
rabbits making believe they're big rip-snorting timber 
wolves. They set out to everlastingly eat up some propo- 
sition, but at the first sign of trouble they turn tail and 
stampede for the brush. Look how it works. When the 
big fellows wanted to unload Little Copper, they sent 
Jakey Fallow into the New York Stock Exchange to yell 
out: T'll buy all or any part of Little Copper at fifty-five!' 
— Little Copper being at fifty- four. And in thirty minutes 
them cottontails — financiers, some folks call them — bid 
up Little Copper to sixty. And an hour after that, stam- 
peding for the brush, they were throwing Little Copper 
overboard at forty-five and even forty. 

"They're catspaws for the big fellows. Almost as fast 
as they rob the suckers, the big fellows come along and 
hold them up. Or else the big fellows use them in order to 
rob each other. That's the way the Chattanooga Coal and 
Iron Company was swallowed up by the trust in the last 
panic. The trust made that panic. It had to break a couple 
of big banking companies and squeeze half a dozen big 
fellows, too, and it did it by stampeding the cottontails. 
The cottontails did the rest all right, and the trust gathered 
in Chattanooga Coal and Iron. Why, any man, with 
nerve and savvee, can start them cottontails jumping for 
the brush. I don't exactly hate them myself, but I haven't 
any regard for chicken-hearted four-flushers." 



CHAPTER XVII 

For months Daylight was buried in work. The outlay 
was terrific, and there was nothing coming in. Beyond a 
general rise in land values, Oakland had not acknowledged 
his irruption on the financial scene. The city was waiting 
for him to show what he was going to do, and he lost no time 
about it. The best skilled brains on the market were hired 
by him for the different branches of the work. Initial mis- 
takes he had no patience with, and he was determined to 
start right, as when he engaged Wilkinson, almost doubhng 
his big salary, and brought him out from Chicago to take 
charge of the street railway organization. Night and day 
the road gangs toiled on the streets. And night and day 
the pile-drivers hammered the big piles down into the mud 
of San Francisco Bay. The pier was to be three miles long, 
and the Berkeley hills were denuded of whole groves of 
mature eucaljrptus for the piling. 

At the same time that his electric roads were building 
out through the hills, the hay-fields were being surveyed 
and broken up into city squares, with here and there, ac- 
cording to best modern methods, winding boulevards and 
strips of park. Broad streets, well graded, were made, 
with sewers and water-pipes ready laid, and macadamized 
from his own quarries. Cement sidewalks were also laid, 
so that all the purchaser had to do was to select his lot and 
architect and start building. The quick service of Day- 
light's new electric roads into Oakland made this big dis- 
trict immediately accessible, and long before the ferry sys- 
tem was in operation hundreds of residences were going up. 

265 



266 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

The profit on this land was enormous. In a day, his on- 
slaught of wealth had turned open farming country into one 
of the best residential districts of the city. 

But this money that flowed in upon him was immediately 
poured back into his other investments. The need for 
electric cars was so great that he installed his own shops for 
building them. And even on the rising land market, he 
continued to buy choice factory sites and building proper- 
ties. On the advice of Wilkinson, practically every electric 
road already in operation was rebuilt. The light, old- 
fashioned rails were torn out and replaced by the heaviest 
that were manufactured. Corner lots, on the sharp turns of 
narrow streets, were bought and ruthlessly presented to the 
city in order to make wide curves for his tracks and high 
speed for his cars. Then, too, there were the main-line 
feeders for his ferry system, tapping every portion of Oak- 
land, Alameda, and Berkeley, and running fast expresses 
to the pier end. The same large-scale methods were em- 
ployed in the water system. Service of the best was needed, 
if his huge land investment was to succeed. Oakland had 
to be made into a worth-while city, and that was what he 
intended to do. In addition to his big hotels, he built 
amusement parks for the common people, and art galleries 
and club-house country inns for the more finicky classes. 
Even before there was any increase in population, a marked 
increase in street-railway traffic took place. There was 
nothing fanciful about his schemes. They were sound 
investments. 

"What Oakland wants is a first-class theatre," he said, 
and, after vainly trying to interest local capital, he started 
the building of the theatre himself; for he alone had vision 
for the two hundred thousand new people that were coming 
to the town. 

But no matter what pressure was on Daylight, his Sun- 
days he reserved for his riding in the hills. It was not the 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 267 

rainy winter weather, however, that brought these rides 
with Dede to an end. One Saturday afternoon in the office 
she told him not to expect to meet her next day, and, when 
he pressed for an explanation: — 

"I've sold Mab." 

Daylight was speechless for the moment. Her act meant 
one of so many serious things that he couldn't classify it. 
It smacked almost of treachery. She might have met with 
financial disaster. It might be her way of letting him know 
she had seen enough of him. Or . . . 

"What's the matter?" he managed to ask. 

"I couldn't afford to keep her with hay forty-five dollars 
a ton," Dede answered. 

"Was that your only reason?" he demanded, looking at 
her steadily; for he remembered her once teUing him how 
she had brought the mare through one winter, five years 
before, when hay had gone as high as sixty dollars a ton. 

"No. My brother's expenses have been higher, as well, 
and I was driven to the conclusion that since I could not 
afford both, I'd better let the mare go and keep the 
brother." 

Daylight felt inexpressibly saddened. He was suddenly 
aware of a great emptiness. What would a Sunday be 
without Dede? And Sundays without end without her? 
He drummed perplexedly on the desk with his fingers. 

"Who bought her?" he asked. 

Dede's eyes flashed in the way long since familiar to 
him when she was angry. 

"Don't you dare buy her back for me," she cried. "And 
don't deny that that was what you had in mind." 

"No, I won't deny it. It was my idea to a tee. But I 
wouldn't have done it without asking you first, and seeing 
how you feel about it, I won't even ask you. But you 
thought a heap of that mare, and it's pretty hard on you to 
lose her. I'm sure sorry. And I'm sorry, too, that you 



268 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

won't be riding with me to-morrow. I'll be plumb lost. I 
won't know what to do with myself." 

''Neither shall I," Dede confessed mournfully, except 
that I shall be able to catch up with my sewing." 

''But I haven't any sewing." 

Daylight's tone was whimsically plaintive, but secretly he 
was delighted with her confession of loneliness. It was al- 
most worth the loss of the mare to get that out of her. At 
any rate, he meant something to her. He was not utterly 
unliked. 

"I wish you would reconsider. Miss Mason," he said 
softly. "Not alone for the mare's sake, but for my sake. 
Money don't cut any ice in this. For me to buy that mare 
wouldn't mean as much as it does to most men to send a 
bouquet of flowers or a box of candy to a young lady. And 
I've never sent you flowers or candy." He observed the 
warning flash of her eyes, and hurried on to escape refusal. 
"I'll tell you what we'll do. Suppose I buy the mare and 
own her myself, and lend her to you when you want to ride. 
There's nothing wrong in that. Anybody borrows a horse 
from anybody, you know." 

Again he saw refusal, and headed her off. 

"Lots of men take women buggy-riding. There's noth- 
ing wrong in that. And the man always furnishes the horse 
and buggy. Well, now, what's the difference between my 
taking you buggy-riding to-morrow and furnishing the 
horse and buggy, and taking you horseback-riding and 
furnishing the horses?" 

She shook her head, and declined to answer, at the same 
time looking at the door as if to intimate that it was time 
for this unbusinesslike conversation to end. He made one 
more effort. 

"Do you know, Miss Mason, I haven't a friend in the 
world outside you? I mean a real friend, man or woman, 
the kind you chum with, you know, that you're glad to be 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 269 

with and sorry to be away from. Hegan is the nearest man 
I get to, and he's a million miles away from me. Outside 
business, we don't hitch. He's got a big library of books, 
and some crazy kind of culture, and he spends all his off 
time reading things in French and German and other out- 
landish lingoes — when he ain't writing plays and poetry. 
There's nobody I feel chummy with except you, and you 
know how little we've chummed — once a week, if it didn't 
rain, on Sunday. I've grown kind of to depend on you. 
You're a sort of — of — of — " 

"A sort of habit," she said with a smile. 

"That's about it. And that mare, and you astride of her, 
coming along the road under the trees or through the sun- 
shine — why, with both you and the mare missing, there 
won't be anything worth waiting through the week for. If 
you'd just let me buy her back — " 

"No, no; I tell you no." Dede arose impatiently, but her 
eyes were moist with memory of her pet. "Please don't 
mention her to me again. If you think it was easy to part 
with her, you are mistaken. But I've seen the last of her, 
and I want to forget her." 

Daylight made no answer, and the door closed behind her. 

Half an hour later he was conferring with Jones, the erst- 
while elevator boy and rabid proletarian whom Daylight 
long before had grubstaked to literature for a year. The 
resulting novel had been a failure. Editors and publishers 
would not look at it, and Daylight was now using the dis- 
gruntled author in a little private secret service system he 
had been compelled to establish for himself. Jones, who 
affected to be surprised at nothing after his crushing ex- 
perience with railroad freight rates on fire-wood and char- 
coal, betrayed no surprise now when the task was given him 
to locate the purchaser of a certain sorrel mare. 

"How high shall I pay for her?" he asked. 

"Any price. You've got to get her, that's the point. 



2 70 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Drive a sharp bargain so as not to excite suspicion, but get 
her. Then you deliver her to that address up in Sonoma 
County. The man's the caretaker on a little ranch I have 
there. Tell him he's to take whacking good care of her. And 
after that forget all about it. Don't tell me the name of the 
man you buy her from. Don't tell me anything about it 
except that you've got her and delivered her. Savvee?" 

But the week had not passed, when Daylight noted the 
flash in Dede's eyes that boded trouble. 

"Something's gone wrong — what is it?" he asked 
boldly. 

"Mab," she said. "The man who bought her has sold her 
already. If I thought you had anything to do with it — " 

"I don't even know who you sold her to," was Daylight's 
answer. "And what's more, I'm not bothering my head 
about her. She was your mare, and it's none of my business 
what you did with her. You haven't got her, that's sure, 
and worse luck. And now, while we're on touchy subjects, 
I'm going to open another one with you. And you needn't 
get touchy about it, for it's not really your business at all." 

She waited in the pause that followed, eyeing him almost 
suspiciously. 

"It's about that brother of yours. He needs more than 
you can do for him. Selling that mare of yours won't send 
him to Germany. And that's what his own doctors say he 
needs — that crack German specialist who rips a man's 
bones and muscles into pulp and then moulds them all over 
again. Well, I want to send him to Germany and give that 
crack a flutter, that's all." 

"If it were only possible!" she said, half breathlessly, 
and wholly without anger. "Only it isn't, and you know it 
isn't. I can't accept money from you — " 

"Hold on, now," he interrupted. "Wouldn't you accept 
a drink of water from one of the Twelve Apostles if you 
was dying of thirst? Or would you be afraid of his evil 



BURNrNG DAYLIGHT 27I 

intentions — " She made a gesture of dissent " — or of 
what folks might say about it?" 

"But that's different," she began. 

"Now look here, Miss Mason. You've got to get some 
foolish notions out of your head. This money notion is one 
of the funniest things I've seen. Suppose you was falling 
over a cliff, wouldn't it be all right for me to reach out and 
catch you by the arm? Sure it would. But suppose you 
needed another sort of help — instead of the strength of 
my arm, the strength of my pocket? That would be all 
wrong. That's what they all say. But why do they say 
it? Because the robber gangs want all the suckers to be 
honest and respect money. If the suckers weren't honest 
and didn't respect money, where would the robbers be? 
Don't you see? The robbers don't deal in arm-holds; they 
deal in dollars. Therefore arm-holds are just common and 
ordinary, while dollars are sacred — so sacred that you 
dassent let me lend you a hand with a few. 

"Or here's another way," he continued, spurred on by her 
mute protest. "It's all right for me to give the strength of 
my arm when you're falling over a cliff. But if I take that 
same strength of arm and use it at pick-apd-shovel work 
for a day and earn two dollars, you won't have anything 
to do with the two dollars. Yet it's the same old strength 
of arm in a new form, that's all. Besides, in this proposi- 
tion it won't be a claim on you. It ain't even a loan to you. 
It's an arm-hold I'm giving your brother — just the same 
sort of arm-hold as if he was falling over a cliff. And a nice 
one you are, to come running out and yell 'Stop! ' at me, and 
let your brother go on over the cliff. What he- needs to save 
his legs is that crack in Germany, and that's the arm-hold 
I'm offering, 

"Wish you could see my rooms. Walls all decorated with 
horsehair bridles — scores of them — hundreds of them. 
They're no use to me, and they cost like Sam Scratch. But 



2 72 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

there's a lot of convicts making them, and I go on buying. 
Why, I've spent more money in a single night on whiskey 
than would get the best specialists and pay all the expenses 
of a dozen cases like your brother's. And remember, you've 
got nothing to do with this. If your brother wants to look 
on it as a loan, all right. It's up to him, and you've got to 
stand out of the way while I pull him back from that cliff." 

Still Dede refused, and Daylight's argument took a more 
painful turn. 

"I can only guess that you're standing in your brother's 
way on account of some mistaken idea in your head that 
this is my idea of courting. Well, it ain't. You might as 
well think I'm courting all those convicts I buy bridles from. 
I haven't asked you to marry me, and if I do I won't come 
trying to buy you into consenting. And there won't be 
anything underhand when I come a-asking." 

Dede's face was flushed and angry. 

"If you knew how ridiculous you are, you'd stop," she 
blurted out. "You can make me more uncomfortable than 
any man I ever knew. Every little while you give me to 
understand that you haven't asked me to marry you yet. 
I'm not waiting to be asked, and I warned you from the first 
that you had no chance. And yet you hold it over my head 
that some time, some day, you're going to ask me to marry 
you. Go ahead and ask me now, and get your answer and 
get it over and done with." 

He looked at her in honest and pondering admiration. 

"I want you so bad. Miss Mason, that I don't dast to ask 
you now," he said, with such whimsicality and earnestness 
as to make her throw her head back in a frank boyish laugh. 
"Besides, as I told you, I'm green at it. I never went 
a-courting before, and I don't want to make any mistakes." 

"But you're making them all the time," she cried impul- 
sively. "No man ever courted a woman by holding a threat- 
ened proposal over her head like a club." 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 273 

"I won't do it any more," he said humbly. "And any- 
way, we're off the argument. My straight talk a minute ago 
still holds. You're standing in your brother's way. No 
matter what notions you've got in your head, you've got to 
get out of the way and give him a chance. Will you let me 
go and see him and talk it over with him? I'll make it a 
hard and fast business proposition. I'll stake him to get 
well, that's all, and charge him interest." 

She visibly hesitated. 

"And just remember one thing, Miss Mason: it's his leg, 
not yours." 

Still she refrained from giving her answer, and DayHght 
went on strengthening his position. 

"And remember, I go over to see him alone. He's a 
man, and I can deal with him better without womenfolks 
around. I'll go over to-morrow afternoon." 



CHAPTER XVIII 

Daylight had been wholly truthful when he told Dede 
that he had no real friends. On speaking terms with thou- 
sands, on fellowship and drinking terms with hundreds, he 
was a lonely man. He failed to find the one man, or group of 
several men, with whom he could be really intimate. Cities 
did not make for comradeship as did the Alaskan trail. 
Besides, the t>T3es of men were different. Scornful and 
contemptuous of business men on the one hand, on the 
other his relations with the San Francisco bosses had been 
more an alliance of expediency than anything else. He had 
felt more of kinship for the franker brutality of the bosses 
and their captains, but they had failed to claim any deep 
respect. They were too prone to crookedness. Bonds were 
better than men's word in this modern world, and one had to 
look carefully to the bonds. In the old Yukon days it had 
been different. Bonds didn't go. A man said he had so much, 
and even in a poker game his appraisement was accepted. 

Larry Hegan, who rose ably to the largest demands of 
Daylight's operations and who had few illusions and less 
hypocrisy, might have proved a chum had it not been for 
his temperamental twist. Strange genius that he was, a 
Napoleon of the law, with a power of visioning that far 
exceeded Daylight's, he had nothing in common with Day- 
light outside the office. He spent his time with books, a 
thing Daylight could not abide. Also, he devoted himself to 
the endless writing of plays which never got beyond manu- 
script form, and, though Daylight only sensed the secret 
taint of it, was a confirmed but temperate eater of hasheesh. 

274 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 275 

Hegan lived all his life cloistered with books in a world of 
imagination. With the out-of-door world he had no under- 
standing nor tolerance. In food and drink he was abstem- 
ious as a monk, while exercise was a thing abhorrent. 

Daylight's friendships, in Heu of anything closer, were 
drinking friendships and roistering friendships. And with 
the passing of the Sunday rides with Dede, he fell back 
more and more upon these for diversion. The cocktail wall 
of inhibition he reared more assiduously than ever. The big 
red motor-car was out more frequently now, while a stable 
hand was hired to give Bob exercise. In his early San Fran- 
cisco days, there had been intervals of easement between his 
deals, but in this present biggest deal of all the strain was 
unremitting. Not in a month, or two, or three, could his 
huge land investment be carried to a successful consumma- 
tion. And so complex and wide-reaching was it that com- 
phcations and knotty situations constantly arose. Every 
day brought its problems, and when he had solved them in 
his masterful way, he left the office in his big car, almost 
sighing with relief at anticipation of the approaching double 
Martini. Rarely was he made tipsy. His constitution was 
too strong for that. Instead, he was that direst of all drink- 
ers, the steady drinker, dehberate and controlled, who 
averaged a far higher quantity of alcohol than the irregu- 
lar and violent drinker. 

For six weeks hand-running he had seen nothing of Dede 
except in the office, and there he resolutely refrained from 
making approaches. But by the seventh Sunday his hun- 
ger for her overmastered him. It was a stormy day. A 
heavy southeast gale was blowing, and squall after squall 
of rain and wind swept over the city. He could not take his 
mind off of her, and a persistent picture came to him of her 
sitting by a window and sewing feminine fripperies of some 
sort. When the time came for his first pre-luncheon cock- 
tail to be served to him in his rooms, he did not take it. 



276 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Filled with a daring determination, he glanced at his note- 
book for Dede's telephone number, and called for the 
switch. 

At first it was her landlady's daughter who was raised, 
but in a minute he heard the voice he had been hungry to 
hear. 

"I just wanted to tell you that I'm coming out to see 
you," he said. "I didn't want to break in on you without 
warning, that was all." 

"Has something happened?" came her voice. 

"I'll tell you when I get there," he evaded. 

He left the red car two blocks away and arrived on foot 
at the pretty, three-storied, shingled Berkeley house. For 
an instant only, he was aware of an inward hesitancy, but 
the next moment he rang the bell. He knew that what he 
was doing was in direct violation of her wishes, and that 
he was setting her a difficult task to receive as a Sunday 
caller the multimillionaire and notorious Elam Harnish of 
newspaper fame. On the other hand, the one thing he did 
not expect of her was what he would have termed "silly 
female capers." 

And in this he was not disappointed. 

She came herself to the door to receive him and shake 
hands with him. He hung his mackintosh and hat on the 
rack in the comfortable square hall and turned to her for 
direction. 

"They are busy in there," she said, indicating the parlor, 
from which came the boisterous voices of young people, 
and through the open door of which he could see several 
college youths. "So you will have to come into my rooms." 

She led the way through the door opening out of the hall 
to the right, and, once inside, he stood awkwardly rooted to 
the floor, gazing about him and at her and all the time try- 
ing not to gaze. In his perturbation he failed to hear and 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 277 

see her invitation to a seat. So these were her quarters. 
The intimacy of it and her making no fuss about it was 
startling, but it was no more than he would have expected 
of her. It was almost two rooms in one, the one he was in 
evidently the sitting-room, and the one he could see into, the 
bedroom. Beyond an oaken dressing-table, with an orderly 
litter of combs and brushes and dainty feminine knick- 
knacks, there was no sign of its being used as a bedroom. 
The broad couch, with a cover of old rose and banked high 
with cushions, he decided must be the bed, but it was farth- 
est from any experience of a civilized bed he had ever had. 

Not that he saw much of detail in that awkward moment 
of standing. His general impression was one of warmth and 
comfort and beauty. There were no carpets, and on the 
hardwood floor he caught a glimpse of several wolf and 
coyote skins. What captured and perceptibly held his eye 
for a moment was a Crouched Venus that stood on a Stein- 
way upright against a background of mountain-Hon skin on 
the wall. 

But it was Dede herself that smote most sharply upon 
sense and perception. He had always cherished the idea 
that she was very much a woman — the lines of her figure, 
her hair, her eyes, her voice, and birdlike laughing ways 
had all contributed to this; but here, in her own rooms, clad 
in some flowing, clinging gown, the emphasis of sex was 
startling. He had been accustomed to her only in trim 
tailor suits and shirtwaists, or in riding costume of velvet 
corduroy, and he was not prepared for this new revelation. 
She seemed so much softer, so much more pliant, and ten- 
der, and lissome. She was a part of this atmosphere of 
quietude and beauty. She fitted into it just as she had 
fitted in with the sober office furnishings. 

"Won't you sit down?" she repeated. 

He felt like an animal long denied food. His hunger for 
her welled up in him, and he proceeded to "wolf" the dainty 



278 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

morsel before him. Here was no patience, no diplomacy. 
The straightest, directest way was none too quick for him, 
and, had he known it, the least unsuccessful way he could 
have chosen. 

"Look here," he said, in a voice that shook with passion, 
"there's one thing I won't do, and that's propose to you in 
the office. That's why I'm here. Dede Mason, I want you, 
I just want you." 

While he spoke he advanced upon her, his black eyes 
burning with bright fire, his aroused blood swarthy in his 
cheek. 

So precipitate was he, that she had barely time to cry out 
her involuntary alarm and to step back, at the same time 
catching one of his hands as he attempted to gather her into 
his arms. 

In contrast to him, the blood had suddenly left her cheeks. 
The hand that had warded his off and that still held it, was 
trembling. She relaxed her fingers, and his arm dropped to 
his side. She wanted to say something, do something, to 
pass on from the awkwardness of the situation, but no intel- 
ligent thought nor action came into her mind. She was 
aware only of a desire to laugh. This impulse was partly 
hysterical and partly spontaneous humor — the latter grow- 
ing from instant to instant. Amazing as the affair was, the 
ridiculous side of it was not veiled to her. She felt like one 
who had suffered the terror of the onslaught of a murderous 
footpad only to find out that it was an innocent pedestrian 
asking the time. 

Daylight was the quicker to achieve action. 

"Oh, I know I'm a sure enough fool," he said. "I — I 
guess I'll sit down. Don't be scairt. Miss Mason. I'm not 
real dangerous." 

"I'm not afraid," she answered, with a smile, slipping 
down herself into a chair, beside which, on the floor, stood 
a sewing-basket from which, Daylight noted, some white 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 279 

fluffy thing of lace and muslin overflowed. Again she 
smiled. "Though I confess you did — startle me for the 
moment." 

"It's funny," Daylight sighed, almost with regret; "here 
I am, strong enough to bend you around and tie knots in 
you. Here I am, used to having my will with man and 
beast and anything. And here I am sitting in this chair, 
as weak and helpless as a little lamb. You sure take the 
starch out of me." 

Dede vainly cudgelled her brains in quest of a reply to 
these remarks. Instead, her thought dwelt insistently upon 
the significance of his stepping aside, in the middle of a vio- 
lent proposal, in order to make irrelevant remarks. What 
struck her was the man's certitude. So little did he doubt 
that he would have her, that he could afford to pause and 
generalize upon love and the effects of love. 

She noted his hand unconsciously slipping in the familiar 
way into the side coat pocket where she knew he carried his 
tobacco and brown papers. 

"You may smoke, if you want to," she said. 

He withdrew his hand with a jerk, as if something in the 
pocket had stung him. 

"No, I wasn't thinking of smoking. I was thinking of 
you. WTiat's a man to do when he wants a woman but ask 
her to marry him? That's all that I'm doing. I can't do 
it in style. I know that. But I can use straight English, 
and that's good enough for me. I sure want you mighty 
bad, Miss Mason. You're in my mind 'most all the time, 
now. And what I want to know is — well, do you want me? 
That's all." 

"I — I wish you hadn't asked," she said softly. 

"Mebbe it's best you should know a few things before 
you give me an answer," he went on, ignoring the fact that 
the answer had already been given. "I never went after 
a woman before in my life, all reports to the contrary not- 



280 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

withstanding. The stuff you read about me in the papers 
and books, about me being a lady-killer, is all wrong. 
There's not an iota of truth in it. I guess I've done more 
than my share of card-playing and whiskey-drinking, but 
women I've let alone. There was a woman that killed her- 
self, but I didn't know she wanted me that bad or else I'd 
have married her — not for love, but to keep her from kill- 
ing herself. She was the best of the boiling, but I never gave 
her any encouragement. I'm telling you all this because 
you've read about it, and I want you to get it straight from 
me. 

"Lady-killer!" he snorted. "Why, Miss Mason, I don't 
mind telling you that I've sure been scairt of women all my 
life. You're the first one I've not been afraid of. That's 
the strange thing about it. I just plumb worship you, and 
yet I'm not afraid of you. Mebbe it's because you're dif- 
ferent from the women I know. You've never chased me. 
— Lady-killer ! Why, I've been running away from ladies 
ever since I can remember, and I guess all that saved me 
was that I was strong in the wind and that I never fell down 
and broke a leg or anything. 

'T didn't ever want to get married until after I met you, 
and until a long time after I met you. I cottoned to you 
from the start; but I never thought it would get as bad as 
marriage. Why, I can't get to sleep nights, thinking of 
you and wanting you." 

He came to a stop and waited. She had taken the lace 
and muslin from the basket, possibly to settle her nerves 
and wits, and was sewing upon it. As she was not looking 
at him, he devoured her with his eyes. He noted the firm, 
efficient hands — hands that could control a horse hke Bob, 
that could run a typewriter almost as fast as a man could 
talk, that could sew on dainty garments, and that, doubt- 
lessly, could play on the piano over there in the corner. 
Another ultra-feminine detail he noticed — her slippers. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 28l 

They were small and bronze. He had never imagined she 
had such a small foot. Street shoes and riding boots were 
all that he had ever seen on her feet, and they had given no 
advertisement of this. The bronze slippers fascinated him, 
and to them his eyes repeatedly turned. 

A knock came at the door, which she answered. Day- 
light could not help hearing the conversation. She was 
wanted at the telephone. 

"Tell him to call up again in ten minutes," he heard her 
say, and the masculine pronoun caused in him a flashing 
twinge of jealousy. Well, he decided, whoever it was, 
Burning Daylight would give him a run for his money. 
The marvel to him was that a girl like Dede hadn't been 
married long since. 

She came back, smiling to him, and resumed her sewing. 
His eyes wandered from the efficient hands to the bronze 
slippers and back again, and he swore to himself that there 
were mighty few stenographers like her in existence. That 
was because she must have come of pretty good stock, and 
had a pretty good raising. Nothing else could explain these 
rooms of hers and the clothes she wore and the way she 
wore them. 

"Those ten minutes are flying," he suggested. 

"I can't marry you," she said. 

"You don't love me?" 

She shook her head. 

"Do you like me — the Httlest bit?" 

This time she nodded, at the same time allowing the smile 
of amusement to play on her lips. But it was amusement 
without contempt. The humorous side of a situation rarely 
appealed in vain to her. 

"Well, that's something to go on," he announced. 
"You've got to make a start to get started. I just liked you 
at first, and look what it's grown into. You recollect, you 
said you didn't like my way of life. Well, I've changed it a 



282 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

heap. I ain't gambling like I used to. I've gone into what 
you called the legitimate, making two minutes grow where 
one grew before, three hundred thousand folks where only 
a hundred thousand grew before. And this time next year 
there'll be two million eucalyptus growing on the hills. Say, 
do you like me more than the littlest bit?" 

She raised her eyes from her work and looked at him as 
she answered: — 

"I like you a great deal, but — " 

He waited a moment for her to complete the sentence, 
faihng which, he went on himself. 

"I haven't an exaggerated opinion of myself, so I know I 
ain't bragging when I say I'll make a pretty good husband. 
You'd find I was no hand at nagging and fault-finding. I 
can guess what it must be for a woman like you to be in- 
dependent. Well, you'd be independent as my wife. No 
strings on you. You could follow your own sweet will, and 
nothing would be too good for you. I'd give you everything 
your heart desired — " 

"Except yourself," she interrupted suddenly, almost 
sharply. 

Daylight's astonishment was momentary. 

"I don't know about that. I'd be straight and square, 
and live true. I don't hanker after divided affections." 

"I don't mean that," she said. "Instead of giving your- 
self to your wife, you would give yourself to the three 
hundred thousand people of Oakland, to your street rail- 
ways and ferry-routes, to the two million trees on the hills 
— to everything business — and — and to all that that 
means." 

"I'd see that I didn't," he declared stoutly. "I'd be 
yours to command — " 

"You think so, but it would turn out differently." She 
suddenly became nervous. "We must stop this talk. It 
is too much Hke attempting to drive a bargain. 'How 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 283 

much will you give?' 'I'll give so much.' 'I want more,' 
and all that. I like you, but not enough to marry you, and 
I'll never like you enough to marry you." 

"How do you know that?" he demanded. 

"Because I like you less and less." 

Daylight sat dumfounded. The hurt showed itself 
plainly in his face. 

"Oh, you don't understand," she cried wildly, beginning 
to lose self-control. "It's not that way I mean. I do like 
you; the more I've known you the more I've liked you. 
And at the same time the more I've known you the less 
would I care to marry you." 

This enigmatic utterance completed Daylight's perplexity. 

"Don't you see?" she hurried on. "I could have far 
easier married the Elam Harnish fresh from Klondike, 
when I first laid eyes on him long ago, than marry you sit- 
ting before me now." 

He shook his head slowly. 

"That's one too many for me. The more you know and 
like a man the less you want to marry him. Familiarity 
breeds contempt — I guess that's what you mean." 

"No, no," she cried, but before she could continue, a 
knock came on the door. 

"The ten minutes is up," Daylight said. 

His eyes, quick with observation like an Indian's, darted 
about the room while she was out. The impression of 
warmth and comfort and beauty predominated, though he 
was unable to analyze it; while the simplicity delighted 
him — expensive simplicity, he decided, and most of it 
leftovers from the time her father went broke and died. 
He had never before appreciated a plain hardwood floor 
with a couple of wolfskins; it sure beat all the carpets in 
creation. He stared solemnly at a bookcase containing a 
couple of hundred books. There was mystery. He could 
not understand what people found so much tp write about. 



284 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Writing things and reading things were not the same as 
doing things, and himself primarily a man of action, doing 
things was alone comprehensible. 

His gaze passed on from the Crouched Venus to a little 
tea-table with all its fragile and exquisite accessories, and 
to a shining copper kettle and copper chafing-dish. Chafing- 
dishes were not unknown to him, and he wondered if she 
concocted suppers on this one for some of those Univer- 
sity young men he had heard whispers about. One or two 
water-colors on the wall made him conjecture that she had 
painted them herself. There were photographs of horses 
and of old masters, and the trailing purple of a Burial of 
Christ held him for a time. But ever his gaze returned to 
that Crouched Venus on the piano. To his homely, frontier- 
trained mind, it seemed curious that a nice young woman 
should have such a bold, if not sinful, object on display in 
her own room. But he reconciled himself to it by an act 
of faith. Since it was Dede, it must be eminently all right. 
Evidently such things went along with culture. Larry 
Hegan had similar casts and photographs in his book-clut- 
tered quarters. But then, Larry Hegan was different. 
There was that hint of unhealth about him that Daylight 
invariably sensed in his presence, while Dede, on the con- 
trary, seemed always so robustly wholesome, radiating an 
atmosphere compounded of the sun and wind and dust of 
the open road. And yet, if such a clean, healthy woman as 
she went in for naked women crouching on her piano, it 
must be all right. Dede made it all right. She could come 
pretty close to making anything all right. Besides, he 
didn't understand culture anj^way. 

She reentered the room, and as she crossed it to her chair, 
he admired the way she walked, while the bronze slippers 
were maddening. 

"I'd like to ask you several questions," he began im- 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 285 

mediately. "Are you thinking of marrying somebody 
else?" 

She laughed merrily and shook her head. 

"Do you like anybody else more than you like me? — 
that man at the 'phone just now, for instance?" 

"There isn't anybody else. I don't know anybody I 
like well enough to marry. For that matter, I don't think 
I am a marrying woman. Office work seems to spoil one 
for that." 

Daylight ran his eyes over her, from her face to the tip 
of a bronze slipper, in a way that made the color mantle 
in her cheeks. At the same time he shook his head scep- 
tically. 

"It strikes me that you're the most marryingest woman 
that ever made a man sit up and take notice. And now 
another question. You see, I've just got to locate the lay 
of the land. Is there anybody you like as much as you 
like me?" 

But Dede had herself well in hand. 

"That's unfair," she said. "And if you stop and consider, 
you will find that you are doing the very thing you dis- 
claimed — namely, nagging. I refuse to answer any more 
of your questions. Let us talk about other things. How 
is Bob?" 

Half an hour later, whirling along through the rain on 
Telegraph Avenue toward Oakland, Daylight smoked one 
of his brown-paper cigarettes and reviewed what had taken 
place. It was not at all bad, was his summing up, though 
there was much about it that was baffling. There was that 
liking him the more she knew him and at the same time 
wanting to marry him less. That was a puzzler. 

But the fact that she had refused him carried with it 
a certain elation. In refusing him she had refused his 
thirty million dollars. That was going some for a ninety- 



286 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

doUar-a-month stenographer who had known better times. 
She wasn't after money, that was patent. Every woman 
he had encountered had seemed willing to swallow him 
down for the sake of his money. Why, he had doubled his 
fortune, made fifteen millions, since the day she first came 
to work for him, and behold, any willingness to marry him 
she might have possessed had diminished as his money had 
increased. 

"Gosh!" he muttered. "If I clean up a hundred million 
on this land deal she won't even be on speaking terms with 
me." 

But he could not smile the thing away. It remained to 
baffle him, that enigmatic statement of hers that she could 
more easily have married the Elam Harnish fresh from the 
Klondike than the present Elam Harnish. Well, he con- 
cluded, the thing to do was for him to become more like 
that old-time Daylight who had come down out of the 
North to try his luck at the bigger game. But that was 
impossible. He could not set back the flight of time. 
Wishing wouldn't do it, and there was no other way. He 
might as well wish himself a boy again. 

Another satisfaction he cuddled to himself from their 
interview. He had heard of stenographers before, who 
refused their employers, and who invariably quit their posi- 
tions immediately afterward. But Dede had not even 
hinted at such a thing. No matter how baffling she was, 
there was no nonsensical silliness about her. She was level- 
headed. But, also, he had been level-headed and was partly 
responsible for this. He hadn't taken advantage of her in 
the office. True, he had twice overstepped the bounds, but 
he had not followed it up and made a practice of it. She 
knew she could trust him. But in spite of all this he was 
confident that most young women would have been silly 
enough to resign a position with a man they had turned 
(down. And besides, after he had put it to her in the right 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 287 

light, she had not been silly over his sending her brother to 
Germany. 

"Gee! " he concluded, as the car drew up before his hotel. 
"If I'd only known it as I do now, I'd have popped the 
question the first day she came to work. According to her 
say-so, that would have been the proper moment. She 
likes me more and more, and the more she likes me the less 
she'd care to marry me! Now what do you think of that? 
She sure must be fooling." 



CHAPTER XIX 

Once again, on a rainy Sunday, weeks afterward, Day- 
light proposed to Dede. As on the first time, he restrained 
himself until his hunger for her overwhelmed him and 
swept him away in his red automobile to Berkeley. He 
left the machine several blocks away and proceeded to the 
house on foot. But Dede was out, the landlady's daughter 
told him, and added, on second thought, that she was out 
walking in the hills. Furthermore, the young lady directed 
him where Dede's walk was most likely to extend. 

Daylight obeyed the girl's instructions, and soon the 
street he followed passed the last house and itself ceased 
where began the first steep slopes of the open hills. The air 
was damp with the on-coming of rain, for the storm had not 
yet burst, though the rising wind proclaimed its imminence. 
As far as he could see, there was no sign of Dede on the 
smooth, grassy hills. To the right, dipping down into a 
hollow and rising again, was a large, full-grown eucalyptus 
grove. Here all was noise and movement, the lofty, slender- 
trunked trees swaying back and forth in the wind and clash- 
ing their branches together. In the squalls, above all the 
minor noises of creaking and groaning, arose a deep thrum- 
ming note as of a mighty harp. Knowing Dede as he did, 
Daylight was confident that he would find her somewhere 
in this grove where the storm effects were so pronounced. 
And find her he did, across the hollow and on the exposed 
crest of the opposing slope where the gale smote its fiercest 
blows. 

There was something monotonous, though not tiresome, 
about the way Daylight proposed. Guiltless of diplomacy 

288 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 289 

or subterfuge, he was as direct and gusty as the gale itself. 
He had time neither for greeting nor apology. 

"It's the same old thing," he said. "I want you and I've 
come for you. You've just got to have me, Dede, for the 
more I think about it the more certain I am that you've got 
a sneaking liking for me that's something more than just 
ordinary liking. And you don't dast say that it isn't; now 
dast you?" 

He had shaken hands with her at the moment he began 
speaking, and he had continued to hold her hand. Now, 
when she did not answer, she felt a light but firmly insistent 
pressure as of his drawing her to him. Involuntarily, she 
half-yielded to him, her desire for the moment stronger than 
her will. Then suddenly she drew herself away, though 
permitting her hand still to remain in his. 

"You sure ain't afraid of me?" he asked, with quick 
compunction. 

"No." She smiled wofuUy. "Not of you, but of my- 
self." 

"You haven't taken my dare," he urged under this en- 
couragement. 

"Please, please," she begged. "We can never marry, 
so don't let us discuss it." 

"Then I copper your bet to lose." He was almost gay, 
now, for success was coming faster than his fondest imagin- 
ing. She liked him, without a doubt; and without a doubt 
she liked him well enough to let him hold her hand, well 
enough to be not repelled by the nearness of him. 

She shook her head. 

"No, it is impossible. You would lose your bet." 

For the first time a dark suspicion crossed Daylight's 
mind — a clew that explained everything. 

"Say, you ain't been let in for some one of these secret 
marriages have you?" 

The consternation in his voice and on his face was too 



290 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

much for her, and her laugh rang out, merry and spon- 
taneous as a burst of joy from the throat of a bird. 

Daylight knew his answer, and, vexed with himself, 
decided that action was more efficient than speech. So he 
stepped between her and the wind and drew her so that she 
stood close in the shelter of him. An unusually stiff squall 
blew about them and thrummed overhead in the tree-tops, 
and both paused to listen. A shower of flying leaves en- 
veloped them, and hard on the heel of the wind came driv- 
ing drops of rain. He looked down on her and on her hair, 
wind-blown about her face; and because of her closeness 
to him and of a fresher and more poignant realization of 
what she meant to him, he trembled so that she was aware 
of it in the hand that held hers. 

She suddenly leaned against him, bowing her head until 
it rested lightly upon his breast. And so they stood while 
another squall, with flying leaves and scattered drops of 
rain, rattled past. With equal suddenness she lifted her 
head and looked at him. 

"Do you know," she said, "I prayed last night about you. 
I prayed that you would fail, that you would lose every- 
thing — everything." 

Daylight stared his amazement at this cryptic utterance. 

"That sure beats me. I always said I got out of my 
depth with women, and you've got me out of my depth now. 
Why you want me to lose everything, seeing as you like 
me—" 

"I never said so." 

"You didn't dast say you didn't. So, as I was sajring: 
liking me, why you'd want me to go broke is clean beyond 
my simple understanding. It's right in line with that other 
puzzler of yours, the more-you-like-me-the-less-you-want-to 
marry-me one. Well, you've just got to explain, that's all." 

His arms went around her and held her closely, and this 
time she did not resist. Her head was bowed, and he 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 29I 

could not see her face, yet he had a premonition that she 
was crying. He had learned the virtue of silence, and he 
waited her will in the matter. Things had come to such a 
pass that she was bound to tell him something now. Of that 
he was confident. 

"I am not romantic," she began, again looking at him as 
she spoke. "It might be better for me if I were. Then 
I could make a fool of myself and be unhappy for the rest 
of my life. But my abominable common sense prevents. 
And that doesn't make me a bit happier, either." 

"I'm still out of my depth and swimming feeble," Day- 
light said, after waiting vainly for her to go on. "You've 
got to show me, and you ain't shown me yet. Your com- 
mon sense and praying that I'd go broke is all up in the air 
to me. Little woman, I just love you mighty hard, and I 
want you to marry me. That's straight and simple and 
right off the bat. Will you marry me?" 

She shook her head slowly, and then, as she talked, 
seemed to grow angry, sadly angry; and Daylight knew that 
this anger was against him. 

"Then let me explain, and just as straight and simply 
as you have asked." She paused, as if casting about for 
a beginning. "You are honest and straightforward. Do 
you want me to be honest and straightforward as a woman 
is not supposed to be? — to tell you things that will hurt 
you? — to make confessions that ought to shame me? — 
to behave in what many men would think was an unwom- 
anly manner?" 

The arm around her shoulder pressed encouragement, 
but he did not speak. 

"I would dearly like to marry you, but I am afraid. 
I am proud and humble at the same time that a man like 
you should care for me. But you have too much money. 
There's where my abominable common sense steps in. Even 
if we did marry, you could never be my man — my lover 



292 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

and my husband. You would be your money's man. I 
know I am a foolish woman, but I want my man for my- 
self. You would not be free for me. Your money possesses 
you, taking your time, your thoughts, your energy, every- 
thing, bidding you go here and go there, do this and do 
that. Don't you see? Perhaps it's pure silliness, but I 
feel that I can love much, give much — give all ; and in 
return, though I don't want all, I want much — and I want 
much more than your money would permit you to give me. 

"And your money destroys you; it makes you less and 
less nice. I am not ashamed to say that I love you, because 
I shall never marry you. And I loved you much when I 
did not know you at all, when you first came down from 
Alaska and I first went into the office. You were my hero. 
You were the Burning Daylight of the gold-diggings, the 
daring traveller and miner. And you looked it. I don't 
see how any woman could have looked at you without 
loving you — then. But you don't look it now. 

"Please, please, forgive me for hurting you. You 
wanted straight talk, and I am giving it to you. All these 
last years you have been living unnaturally. You, a man 
of the open, have been cooping yourself up in the cities with 
all that that means. You are not the same man at all, and 
your money is destroying you. You are becoming some- 
thing different, something not so healthy, not so clean, not so 
nice. Your money and your way of life are doing it. You 
know it. You haven't the same body now that you had 
then. You are putting on flesh, and it is not healthy flesh. 
You are kind and genial with me, I know, but you are not 
kind and genial to all the world as you were then. You 
have become harsh and cruel. And I know. Remember, 
I have studied you six days a week, month after month, 
year after year; and I know more about the most insig- 
nificant parts of you than you know of all of me. The cruel- 
ty is not only in your heart and thoughts, but it is there in 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 293 

your face. It has put its lines there. I have watched them 
come and grow. Your money, and the Hfe it compels you 
to lead, have done all this. You are being brutalized and 
degraded. And this process can only go on and on until you 
are hopelessly destroyed — " 

He attempted to interrupt, but she stopped him, herself 
breathless and her voice trembling. 

"No, no; let me finish utterly. I have done nothing 
but think, think, think, all these months, ever since you 
came riding with me, and now that I have begun to speak 
I am going to speak all that I have in me. I do love you, 
but I cannot marry you and destroy love. You are growing 
into a thing that I must in the end despise. You can't help 
it. More than you can possibly love me, do you love this 
business game. This business — and it's all perfectly use- 
less, so far as you are concerned — claims all of you. I 
sometimes think it would be easier to share you equitably 
with another woman than to share you with this business. 
I might have half of you, at any rate. But this business 
would claim, not half of you, but nine-tenths of you, or 
ninety-nine hundredths. 

"Remember, the meaning of marriage to me is not to get 
a man's money to spend. I want the man. You say you 
want me. And suppose I consented, but gave you only one- 
hundredth part of me. Suppose there was something else 
in my life that took the other ninety-nine parts, and, 
furthermore, that ruined my figure, that put pouches under 
my eyes and crowsfeet in the corners, that made me un- 
beautiful to look upon and that made my spirit unbeautiful. 
Would you be satisfied with that one-hundredth part of 
me? Yet that is all you are offering me of yourself. Do 
you wonder that I won't marry you? — that I can't?" 

Daylight waited to see if she were quite done, and she 
went on again. 

"It isn't that I am selfish. After all, love is giving, not 



294 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

receiving. But I see so clearly that all my giving could not 
do you any good. You are like a sick man. You don't 
play business like other men. You play it heart and soul 
and all of you. No matter what you believed and intended, 
a wife would be only a brief diversion. There is that mag- 
nificent Bob, eating his head off in the stable. You would 
buy me a beautiful mansion and leave me in it to yawn my 
head off, or cry my eyes out because of my helplessness and 
inability to save you. This disease of business would be 
corroding you and marring you all the time. You play it 
as you have played everything else, as in Alaska you 
played the life of the trail. Nobody could be permitted to 
travel as fast and as far as you, to work as hard or endure 
as much. You hold back nothing; you put all you've got 
into whatever you are doing — " 

"Limit is the sky," he grunted grim affirmation. 

"But if you would only play the lover-husband that 
way — " 

Her voice faltered and stopped, and a blush showed in her 
wet cheeks as her eyes fell before his. 

"And now I won't say another word," she added. "I've 
delivered a whole sermon." 

She rested now, frankly and fairly, in the shelter of his 
arms, and both were oblivious to the gale that rushed past 
them in quicker and stronger blasts. The big downpour of 
rain had not yet come, but the mist-like squalls were more 
frequent. Daylight was openly perplexed, and he was still 
perplexed when he began to speak. 

"I'm stumped. I'm up a tree. I'm clean flabbergasted. 
Miss Mason — or Dede, because I love to call you that 
name. I'm free to confess there's a mighty big heap in 
what you say. As I understand it, your conclusion is that 
you'd marry me if I hadn't a cent and if I wasn't getting fat. 
— No, no ; I'm not joking. I acknowledge the corn, and 
that's just my way of boiling the matter down and summing 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 295 

it up. If I hadn't a cent, and if I was living a healthy life 
with all the time in the world to love you and be your hus- 
band, instead of being awash to my back teeth in business 
and all the rest — why, you'd marry me. 

"That's all as clear as print, and you're correcter than I 
ever guessed before. You've sure opened my eyes a few. 
But I'm stuck. What can I do? My business has sure 
roped, thrown, and branded me. I'm tied hand and foot, 
and I can't get up and meander over green pastures. I'm 
like the man that got the bear by the tail. I can't let go; 
and I want you, and I've got to let go to get you. 

"I don't know what to do, but something's sure got to 
happen. I can't lose you. I just can't. And I'm not go- 
ing to. Why, you're running business a close second right 
now. Business never kept me awake nights, 

"You've left me no argument. I know I'm not the same 
man that came from Alaska. I couldn't hit the trail with 
the dogs as I did in them days. I'm soft in my muscles, and 
my mind's gone hard. I used to respect men. I despise 
them now. You see, I spent all my life in the open, and I 
reckon I'm an open-air man. WTiy, I've got the prettiest 
little ranch you ever laid eyes on, up in Glen Ellen. That's 
where I got stuck for that brick-yard. You recollect hand- 
ling the correspondence. I only laid eyes on the ranch that 
one time, and I so fell in love with it that I bought it there 
and then. I just rode around the hills, and was happy as a 
kid out of school. I'd be a better man living in the country. 
The city doesn't make me better. You're plumb right there. 
I know it. But suppose your prayer should be answered 
and I'd go clean broke and have to work for day's wages?" 

She did not answer, though all the body of her seemed to 
urge consent. 

"Suppose I had nothing left but that little ranch, and was 
satisfied to grow a few chickens and scratch a living some- 
how — would you marry me then, Dede?" 



296 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"Why, we'd be together all the time!" she cried. 

"But I'd have to be out ploughing once in a while," 
he warned, "or driving to town to get the grub." 

"But there wouldn't be the office, at any rate, and no 
man to see, and men to see without end. But it is all foolish 
and impossible, and we'll have to be starting back now if 
we're to escape the rain." 

Then was the moment, among the trees, ere they began 
the descent of the hill, that Daylight might have drawn her 
closely to him and kissed her once. But he was too per- 
plexed with the new thoughts she had put into his head to 
take advantage of the situation. He merely caught her by 
the arm and helped her over the rougher footing. 

"It's darn pretty country up there at Glen Ellen," he 
said meditatively. "I wish you could see it." 

At the edge of the grove he suggested that it might be 
better for them to part there. 

"It's your neighborhood, and folks is liable to talk." 

But she insisted that he accompany her as far as the house. 

"I can't ask you in," she said, extending her hand at the 
foot of the steps. 

The wind was humming wildly in sharply recurrent gusts, 
but still the rain held off. 

"Do you know," he said, "taking it by and large, it's the 
happiest day of my life." He took off his hat, and the 
wind rippled and twisted his black hair as he went on 
solemnly, "And I'm sure grateful to God, or whoever or 
whatever is responsible for your being on this earth. For 
you do hke me heaps. It's been my joy to hear you say so 
to-day. It's — " He left the thought arrested, and his 
face assumed the familiar whimsical expression as he mur- 
mured: "Dede, Dede, we've just got to get married. It's 
the only way, and trust to luck for it's coming out all right." 

But the tears were threatening to rise in her eyes again, as 
she shook her head and turned and went up the steps. 



CHAPTER XX 

When the ferry system began to run, and the time be- 
tween Oakland and San Francisco was demonstrated to be 
cut in half, the tide of Dayhght's terrific expenditure 
started to turn. Not that it really did turn, for he promptly 
went into further investments. Thousands of lots in his 
residence tracts were sold, and thousands of homes were 
being built. Factory sites also were selling, and business 
properties in the heart of Oakland. All this tended to a 
steady appreciation in value of Daylight's huge holdings. 
But, as of old, he had his hunch and was riding it. Al- 
ready he had begun borrowing from the banks. The mag- 
nificent profits he made on the land he sold were turned 
into more land, into more development; and instead of 
paying off old loans, he contracted new ones. As he had 
pyramided in Dawson City, he now pyramided in Oakland ; 
but he did it with the knowledge that it was a stable enter- 
prise rather than a risky placer-mining boom. 

In a small way, other men were following his lead, buying 
and selling land and profiting by the improvement work 
he was doing. But this was to be expected, and the small 
fortunes they were making at his expense did not irritate 
him. There was an exception, however. One Simon 
Dolliver, with money to go in with, and with cunning and 
courage to back it up, bade fair to become a several times 
millionaire at Daylight's expense. Dolliver, too, pyramided, 
playing quickly and accurately, and keeping his money turn- 
ing over and over. More than once Daylight found him 

297 



298 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

in the way, as he himself had got in the way of the Guggen- 
hammers when they first set their eyes on Ophir Creek. 

Work on Daylight's dock system went on apace; yet it 
was one of those enterprises that consumed money dread- 
fully and that could not be accomplished as quickly as a 
ferry system. The engineering difficulties were great, the 
dredging and filling a cyclopean task. The mere item of 
piling was anything but small. A good average pile, by 
the time it was delivered on the ground, cost a twenty-dollar 
gold piece, and these piles were used in unending thousands. 
All accessible groves of mature eucalyptus were used, and, 
as well, great rafts of pine piles were towed down the coast 
from Puget Sound. 

Not content with manufacturing the electricity for his 
street railways in the old-fashioned way, in power-houses, 
Daylight organized the Sierra and Salvador Power Com- 
pany. This immediately assumed large proportions. Cross- 
ing the San Joaquin Valley on the way from the mountains, 
and plunging through the Contra Costa hills, there were 
many towns, and even a robust city, that could be supplied 
with power, also with light; and it became a street-and- 
house-lighting project as well. As soon as the purchase of 
power sites in the Sierras was rushed through, the survey 
parties were out and building operations begun. 

And so it went. There were a thousand maws into which 
he poured unceasing streams of money. But it was all so 
sound and legitimate, that Daylight, born gambler that he 
was, and with his clear, wide vision, could not play softly 
and safely. It was a big opportunity, and to him there 
was only one way to play it, and that was the big way. Nor 
did his one confidential adviser, Larry Hegan, aid him to 
caution. On the contrary, it was Daylight who was com- 
pelled to veto the wilder visions of that able hasheesh 
dreamer. Not only did Daylight borrow heavily from the 
banks and trust companies, but on several of his corpora- 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 299 

tions he was compelled to issue stock. He did this grudg- 
ingly, however, and retained most of his big enterprises 
wholly his own. Among the companies in which he reluc- 
tantly allowed the investing public to join were the Golden 
Gate Dock Company, and Recreation Parks Company, the 
United Water Company, the Encinal Shipbuilding Com- 
pany, and the Sierra and Salvador Power Company. Nev- 
ertheless, between himself and Hegan, he retained the con- 
trolling share in each of these enterprises. 

His affair with Dede Mason only seemed to languish. 
While delaying to grapple with the strange problem it 
presented, his desire for her continued to grow. In his 
gambling simile, his conclusion was that Luck had dealt him 
the most remarkable card in the deck, and that for years 
he had overlooked it. Love was the card, and it beat them 
all. Love was the king card of trumps, the fifth ace, the 
joker in a game of tenderfoot poker. It was the card of 
cards, and play it he would, to the limit, when the opening 
came. He could not see that opening yet. The present 
game would have to play to some sort of a conclusion first. 

Yet he could not shake from his brain and vision the 
warm recollection of those bronze slippers, that clinging 
gown, and all the feminine softness and pliancy of Dede in 
her pretty Berkeley rooms. Once again, on a rainy Sunday, 
he telephoned that he was coming. And, as has happened 
ever since man first looked upon woman and called her 
good, again he played the blind force of male compulsion 
against the woman's secret weakness to yield. Not that 
it was Daylight's way abjectly to beg and entreat. On 
the contrary, he was masterful in whatever he did, but he 
had a trick of whimsical wheedling that Dede found harder 
to resist than the pleas of a suppliant lover. It was not a 
happy scene in its outcome, for Dede, in the throes of her 
own desire, desperate with weakness and at the same time 
with her better judgment hating her weakness, cried out: — 



300 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"You urge me to try a chance, to marry you now and trust 
to luck for it to come out right. And life is a gamble, you 
say. Very well, let us gamble. Take a coin and toss it in the 
air. If it comes heads, I'll marry you. If it doesn't, you 
are forever to leave me alone and never mention marriage 
again." 

A fire of mingled love and the passion of gambling came 
into Daylight's eyes. Involuntarily his hand started for 
his pocket for the coin. Then it stopped, and the hght in his 
eyes was troubled. 

"Go on," she ordered sharply. "Don't delay, or I may 
change my mind, and you will lose the chance." 

"Little woman." His similes were humorous, but there 
was no humor in their meaning. His thought was as solemn 
as his voice. "Little woman, I'd gamble all the way from 
Creation to the Day of Judgment; I'd gamble a golden 
harp against another man's halo; I'd toss for pennies on the 
front steps of the New Jerusalem or set up a faro layout 
just outside the Pearly Gates; but I'll be everlastingly 
damned if I'll gamble on love. Love's too big to me to 
take a chance on. Love's got to be a sure thing, and be- 
tween you and me it is a sure thing. If the odds was a 
hundred to one on my winning this flip, just the same, nary 
a flip." 

In the spring of the year the Great Panic came on. The 
first warning was when the banks began calling in their un- 
protected loans. Dayhght promptly paid the first several of 
his personal notes that were presented; then he divined that 
these demands but indicated the way the wind was going to 
blow, and that one of those terrific financial storms he had 
heard about was soon to sweep over the United States. 
How terrific this particular storm was to be he did not antici- 
pate. Nevertheless, he took every precaution in his power, 
and had no anxiety about his weathering it out. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 30 1 

Money grew tighter. Beginning with the crash of several 
of the greatest Eastern banking houses, the tightness spread, 
until every bank in the country was calling in its credits. 
Daylight was caught, and caught because of the fact that for 
the first time he had been playing the legitimate business 
game. In the old days, such a panic, with the accompany- 
ing extreme shrinkage of values, would have been a golden 
harvest time for him. As it was, he watched the gamblers, 
who had ridden the wave of prosperity and made prepara- 
tion for the slump, getting out from under and safely scurry- 
ing to cover or proceeding to reap a double harvest. 
Nothing remained for him but to stand fast and hold up. 

He saw the situation clearly. When the banks demanded 
that he pay his loans, he knew that the banks were in sore 
need of the money. But he was in sorer need. And he 
knew that the banks did not want his collateral which they 
held. It would do them no good. In such a tumbling of 
values was no time to sell. His collateral was good, all of 
it, eminently sound and worth while ; yet it was worthless at 
such a moment, when the one unceasing cry was money, 
money, money. Finding him obdurate, the banks demand- 
ed more collateral, and as the money pinch tightened they 
asked for two and even three times as much as had been 
originally accepted. Sometimes Daylight yielded to these 
demands, but more often not, and always battling fiercely. 

He fought as with clay behind a crumbling wall. All 
portions of the wall were menaced, and he went around con- 
stantly strengthening the weakest parts with clay. This 
clay was money, and was applied, a sop here and a sop there, 
as fast as it was needed, but only w^hen it was direly needed. 
The strength of his position lay in the Yerba Buena Ferry 
Company, the Consolidated Street Railways, and the United 
Water Company. Though people were no longer buying 
residence lots and factory and business sites, they were com- 
pelled to ride on his cars and ferry-boats and to consume his 



302 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

water . When all the financial world was clamoring for money, 
and perishing through lack of it, the first of each month 
many thousands of dollars poured into his coffers from the 
water-rates, and each day ten thousand dollars, in dimes 
and nickels, came in from his street railways and ferries. 

Cash was what was wanted, and had he had the use of all 
this steady river of cash, all would have been well with him. 
As it was, he had to fight continually for a portion of it. 
Improvement work ceased, and only absolutely essential re- 
pairs were made. His fiercest fight was with the operating 
expenses, and this was a fight that never ended. There was 
never any let-up in his turning the thumb-screws of ex- 
tended credit and economy. From the big wholesale sup- 
pliers down through the salary list to office stationery and 
postage stamps, he kept the thumb-screws turning. When 
his superintendents and heads of departments performed 
prodigies of cutting down, he patted them on the back and 
demanded more. When they threw down their hands in de- 
spair, he showed them how more could be accomplished. 

"You are getting eight thousand dollars a year," he told 
Matthewson. "It's better pay than you ever got in your life 
before. Your fortune is in the same sack with mine. 
You've got to stand for some of the strain and risk. You've 
got personal credit in this town. Use it. Stand off butcher 
and baker and all the rest. Savvee? You're drawing down 
something like six hundred and sixty dollars a month. I 
want that cash. From now on, stand everybody off and 
draw down a hundred. I'll pay you interest on the rest till 
this blows over." 

Two weeks later, with the pay-roll before them, it was: — 

"Matthewson, who's this bookkeeper, Rogers? Your 
nephew? I thought so. He's pulling down eighty-five a 
month. After this let him draw thirty-five. The forty can 
ride with me at interest." 

"Impossible!" Matthewson cried. "He can't make ends 



BURNING DAYLIGHT r 



G::naimm 



meet on his salary as it is, and he has a wife and two 
kids — " 

Daylight was upon him with a mighty oath. 

"Can't! Impossible! What in hell do you think I'm 
running? A home for feeble-minded? Feeding and dress- 
ing and wiping the little noses of a lot of idiots that can't 
take care of themselves? Not on your life. I'm hustling, 
and now's the time that everybody that works for me has got 
to hustle. I want no fair-weather birds holding down my 
office chairs or anything else. This is nasty weather, damn 
nasty weather, and they've got to buck into it just like me. 
There are ten thousand men out of work in Oakland right 
now, and sixty thousand more in San Francisco. Your 
nephew, and everybody else on your pay-roll, can do as I say 
right now or quit. Sawee? If any of them get stuck, 
you go around yourself and guarantee their credit with the 
butchers and grocers. And you trim down that pay-roll 
accordingly. I've been carrying a few thousand folks that'll 
have to carry themselves for a while now, that's all.'^ 

"You say this filter's got to be replaced," he told his chief 
of the water-works. "Well see about it. Let the people 
of Oakland drink mud for a change. It'll teach them to 
appreciate good water. Stop work at once. Get those 
men off the pay-roll. Cancel all orders for material. The 
contractors will sue? Let 'em sue and be damned. We'll 
be busted higher'n a kite or on easy street before they can 
get judgment." 

And to Wilkinson: — 

"Take off that owl boat. Let the public roar and come 
home early to its wife. And there's that last car that con- 
nects with the 12:45 boat at Twenty-second and Hastings. 
Cut it out. I can't run it for two or three passengers. Let 
them take an earlier boat home or walk. This is no time 
for philanthropy. And you might as well take off a few 
more cars in the rush hours. Let the strap-hangers pay. 



304 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

It's the Strap-hangers that'll keep us from going under." 

And to another chief, who broke down under the excessive 
strain of retrenchment: — 

"You say I can't do that and can't do this. I'll just show 
you a few of the latest patterns in the can-and-can't line. 
You'll be compelled to resign? All right, if you think so. 
I never saw the man yet that I was hard up for. And when 
any man thinks I can't get along without him, I just show 
him the latest pattern in that line of goods and give him 
his walking-papers." 

And so he fought and drove and bullied and even whee- 
dled his way along. It was fight, fight, fight, and no let-up, 
from the first thing in the morning till nightfall. His private 
office saw throngs every day. All men came to see him, or 
were ordered to come. Now it was an optimistic opinion on 
the panic, a funny story, a serious business talk, or a straight 
take-it-or-leave-it blow from the shoulder. And there was 
nobody to relieve him. It was a case of drive, drive, drive, 
and he alone could do the driving. And this went on day 
after day, while the whole business world rocked around him 
and house after house crashed to the ground. 

"It's all right, old man," he told Hegan every morning; 
and it was the same cheerful word that he passed out all day 
long, except at such times when he was in the thick of fight- 
ing to have his will with persons and things. 

Eight o'clock saw him at his desk each morning. By 
ten o'clock, it was into the machine and away for a round of 
the banks. And usually in the machine with him was the 
ten thousand and more dollars that had been earned by his 
ferries and railways the day before. This was for the weak- 
est spot in the financial dike. And with one bank president 
after another similar scenes were enacted. They were par- 
alyzed with fear, and first of all he played his role of the big 
vital optimist. Times were improving. Of course they 
were. The signs were already in the air. All that anybody 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 305 

had to do was to sit tight a little longer and hold on. That 
was all. Money was already more active in the East. 
Look at the trading on Wall Street of the last twenty-four 
hours. That was the straw that showed the wind. Hadn't 
Ryan said so and so? and wasn't it reported that Morgan 
was preparing to do this and that? 

As for himself, weren't the street-railway earnings in- 
creasing steadily? In spite of the panic, more and more 
people were coming to Oakland right along. Movements 
were already beginning in real estate. He was dickering 
even then to sell over a thousand of his suburban acres. Of 
course it was at a sacrifice, but it would ease the strain on 
all of them and bolster up the faint-hearted. That was 
the trouble — the faint-hearts. Had there been no faint- 
hearts there would have been no panic. There was that 
Eastern syndicate, negotiating with him now to take the 
majority of the stock in the Sierra and Salvador Power 
Company off his hands. That showed confidence that 
better times were at hand. 

And if it was not cheery discourse, but prayer and en- 
treaty or show down and fight on the part of the banks, 
Daylight had to counter in kind. If they could bully, he 
could bully. If the favor he asked were refused, it became 
the thing he demanded. And when it came down to raw 
and naked fighting, with the last veil of sentiment or illu- 
sion torn off, he could take their breaths away. 

But he knew, also, how and when to give in. When he 
saw the wall shaking and crumbling irretrievably at a par- 
ticular place, he patched it up with sops of cash from his 
three cash-earning companies. If the banks went, he went 
too. It was a case of their having to hold out. If they 
smashed, and all the collateral they held of his was thrown 
on the chaotic market, it would be the end. And so it was, as 
the time passed, that on occasion his red motor-car carried, 
in addition to the daily cash, the most gilt-edged securities 



3o6 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

he possessed; namely, the Ferry Company, United Water, 
and Consolidated Railways. But he did this reluctantly, 
fighting inch by inch. 

As he told the president of the Merchants San Antonio, 
who made the plea of carrying so many others: — 

''They're small fry. Let them smash. I'm the king pin 
here. You've got more money to make out of me than them. 
Of course, you're carrying too much, and you've got to 
choose, that's all. It's root hog or die for you or them. I'm 
too strong to smash. You could only embarrass me and 
get yourself tangled up. Your way out is to let the small 
fry go, and I'll lend you a hand to do it." 

And it was Daylight, also, in this time of financial an- 
archy, who sized up Simon Dolliver's affairs and lent the 
hand that sent that rival down in utter failure. The Golden 
Gate National was the keystone of Dolliver's strength, and 
to the president of that institution Daylight said: — 

"Here I've been lending you a hand, and you now in the 
last ditch, with Dolliver riding on you and me all the time. 
It don't go. You hear me, it don't go. Dolliver couldn't 
cough up eleven dollars to save you. Let him get oft" and 
walk, and I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give you the rail- 
way nickels for four days — that's forty thousand cash. 
And on the sixth of the month you can count on twenty 
thousand more from the Water Company." He shrugged 
his shoulders. "Take it or leave it. Them's my terms." 

"It's dog eat dog, and I ain't overlooking any meat that's 
floating around," Daylight proclaimed that afternoon to 
Hegan; and Simon Dolliver went the way of the unfortu- 
nate in the Great Panic who were caught with plenty of 
paper and no money. 

Daylight's shifts and devices were amazing. Nothing, 
however large or small, passed his keen sight unobserved. 
The strain he was under was terrific. He no longer ate lunch. 
The days were too short, and his noon hours and his office 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 307 

were as crowded as at any other time. By the end of the 
day he was exhausted, and, as never before, he sought relief 
behind his wall of alcoholic inhibition. Straight to his hotel 
he was driven, and straight to his rooms he went, where 
immediately was mixed for him the first of a series of double 
Martinis. By dinner, his brain was well clouded and the 
panic forgotten. By bedtime, with the assistance of Scotch 
whiskey, he was full — not violently nor uproariously full, 
nor stupefied, but merely well under the influence of a pleas- 
ant and mild anaesthetic. 

Next morning he awoke with parched lips and mouth, and 
with sensations of heaviness in his head which quickly 
passed away. By eight o'clock he was at his desk, buckled 
down to the fight, by ten o'clock on his personal round of 
the banks, and after that, without a moment's cessation, 
till nightfall, he was handling the knotty tangles of indus- 
try, finance, and human nature that crowded upon him. 
And with nightfall it was back to the hotel, the double Mar- 
tinis and the Scotch; and this was his programme day after 
day until the days ran into weeks. 



CHAPTER XXI 

Though Daylight appeared among his fellows hearty- 
voiced, inexhaustible, spilling over with energy and vitality, 
deep down he was a very weary man. And sometimes, 
under the Hquor drug, snatches of wisdom came to him far 
more lucidly than in his sober moments, as, for instance, one 
night, when he sat on the edge of the bed with one shoe in 
his hand and meditated on Dede's aphorism to the effect 
that he could not sleep in more than one bed at a time. Still 
holding the shoe, he looked at the array of horsehair bridles 
on the walls. Then, carrying the shoe, he got up and sol- 
emnly counted them, journeying into the two adjoining 
rooms to complete the tale. Then he came back to the bed 
and gravely addressed his shoe: — 

"The little woman's right. Only one bed at a time. One 
hundred and forty hair bridles, and nothing doing with ary 
one of them. One bridle at a time ! I can't ride one horse 
at a time. Poor old Bob. I'd better be sending you out to 
pasture. Thirty milhon dollars, and a hundred miUion or 
nothing in sight, and what have I got to show for it? There's 
lots of things money can't buy. It can't buy the little 
woman. It can't buy capacity. What's the good of thirty 
millions when I ain't got room for more than a quart of 
cocktails a day? If I had a hundred-quart-cocktail thirst, 
it'd be different. But one quart — one measly Httle quart 1 
Here I am, a thirty times over millionaire, slaving harder 
every day than any dozen men that work for me, and all I 
get is two meals that don't taste good, one bed, a quart of 
^Martini, and a hundred and forty hair bridles to look at on 

308 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 309 

the wall." He stared around at the array disconsolately. 
"Mr. Shoe, I'm sizzled. Good* night." 

Far worse than the controlled, steady drinker is the soli- 
tary drinker, and it was this that Daylight was developing 
into. He rarely drank sociably any more, but in his own 
room, by himself. Returning weary from each day's unre- 
mitting effort, he drugged himself to sleep, knowing that on 
the morrow he would rise up with a dry and burning mouth 
and repeat the programme. 

But the country did not recover with its wonted elasticity. 
Money did not become freer, though the casual reader of 
Daylight's newspapers, as well as of all the other owned and 
subsidized newspapers in the country, could only have con- 
cluded that the money tightness was over and that the panic 
was past history. All public utterances were cheery and 
optimistic, but privately many of the utterers were in des- 
perate straits. The scenes enacted in the privacy of Day- 
light's office, and of the meetings of his boards of directors, 
would have given the lie to the editorials in his newspapers ; 
as, for instance, when he addressed the big stockholders in 
the Sierra and Salvador Power Company, the United Water 
Company, and the several other stock companies: — 

"You've got to dig. You've got a good thing, but you'll 
have to sacrifice in order to hold on. There ain't no use 
spouting hard times explanations. Don't I know the hard 
times is on? Ain't that what you're here for? As I said 
before, you've got to dig. I run the majority stock, and it's 
come to a case of assess. It's that or smash. If ever I start 
going you won't know what struck you, I'll smash that 
hard. The small fry can let go, but you big ones can't. This 
ship won't sink as long as you stay with her. But if you 
start to leave her, down you'll sure go before you can get 
to shore. This assessment has got to be met, that's all." 

The big wholesale supply houses, the caterers for his ho- 
tels, and all the crowd that incessantly demanded to be 



310 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

paid, had their hot half-hours with him. He summoned 
them to his office and displayed his latest patterns of can 
and can't and will and won't. 

"By God, you've got to carry me!" he told them. "If 
you think this is a pleasant little game of parlor whist and 
that you can quit and go home whenever you want, you're 
plumb wrong. Look here, Watkins, you remarked five min- 
utes ago that you wouldn't stand for it. Now let me tell you 
a few. You're going to stand for it and keep on standing for 
it. You're going to continue supplying me and taking my 
paper until the pinch is over. How you're going to do it is 
your trouble, not mine. You remember what I did to Klink- 
ner and the Altamont Trust Company? I know the inside of 
your business better than you do yourself, and if you try to 
drop me I'll smash you. Even if I'd be going to smash my- 
self, I'd find a minute to turn on you and bring you down 
with me. It's sink or swim for all of us, and I reckon you'll 
find it to your interest to keep me on top the puddle." 

Perhaps his bitterest fight was with the stockholders of 
the United Water Company, for it was practically the whole 
of the gross earnings of this company that he voted to lend 
to himself and used to bolster up his wide battle front. Yet 
he never pushed his arbitrary rule too far. Compelling sac- 
rifice from the men whose fortunes were tied up with his, 
nevertheless when any one of them was driven to the wall 
and was in dire need, Daylight was there to help him back 
into the line. Only a strong man could have saved so com- 
plicated a situation in such time of stress, and Daylight was 
that man. He turned and twisted, schemed and devised, 
bludgeoned and bullied the weaker ones, kept the faint- 
hearted in the fight, and had no mercy on the deserter. 

And in the end, when early summer was on, everything be- 
gan to mend. Came a day when Daylight did the unprece- 
dented. He left the office an hour earlier than usual, and 
for the reason that for the first time since the panic there 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 3II 

was not an item of work waiting to be done. He dropped 
into Hegan's private office, before leaving, for a chat, and 
as he stood up to go, he said: — 

"Hegan, we're all hunkadory. We're pulling out of the 
financial pawnshop in fine shape, and we'll get out without 
leaving one unredeemed pledge behind. The worst is over, 
and the end is in sight. Just a tight rein for a couple more 
weeks, just a bit of a pinch or a flurry or so now and then, 
and we can let go and spit on our hands." 

For once he varied his programme. Instead of going di- 
rectly to his hotel, he started on a round of the bars and 
cafes, drinking a cocktail here and a cocktail there, and two 
or three when he encountered men he knew. It was after an 
hour or so of this that he dropped into the bar of the Par- 
thenon for one last drink before going to dinner. By this 
time all his being was pleasantly warmed by the alcohol, 
and he was in the most genial and best of spirits. At the 
corner of the bar several young men were up to the old trick 
of resting their elbows and attempting to force each other's 
hands down. One broad-shouldered young giant never re- 
moved his elbow, but put down every hand that came 
against him.. Daylight was interested. 

"It's Slosson," the barkeeper told him, in answer to his 
query. "He's the heavy-hammer thrower at the U. C. 
Broke all records this year, and the world's record on top of 
it. He's a husky all right all right." 

Daylight nodded and went over to him, placing his own 
arm in opposition. 

"I'd like to go you a flutter, son, on that proposition," 
he said. 

The young man laughed and locked hands with him; 
and to Daylight's astonishment it was his own hand that 
was forced down on the bar. 

"Hold on," he muttered. "Just one more flutter. I 
reckon I wasn't just ready that time." 



312 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Again the hands locked. It happened quickly. The 
offensive attack of Daylight's muscles slipped instantly into 
defence, and, resisting vainly, his hand was forced over and 
down. Daylight was dazed. It had been no trick. The 
skill was equal, or, if anything, the superior skill had been 
his. Strength, sheer strength, had done it. He called for the 
drinks, and, still dazed and pondering, held up his own arm 
and looked at it as at some new strange thing. He did 
not know this arm. It certainly was not the arm he had 
carried around with him all the years. The old arm? Why, 
it would have been play to turn down that young husky's. 
But this arm — he continued to look at it with such dubious 
perplexity as to bring a roar of laughter from the young men. 

This laughter aroused him. He joined in it at first, and 
then his face slowly grew grave. He leaned toward the 
hammer-thrower . 

"Son," he said, "let me whisper a secret. Get out of here 
and quit drinking before you begin." 

The young fellow flushed angrily, but Daylight held 
steadily on. 

"You listen to your dad, and let him say a few. I'm a 
young man myself, only I ain't. Let me tell you, several 
years ago for me to turn your hand down would have been 
like committing assault and battery on a kindergarten." 

Slosson looked his incredulity, while the others grinned 
and clustered around Daylight encouragingly. 

"Son, I ain't given to preaching. This is the first time I 
ever come to the penitent form, and you put me there your- 
self — hard. I've seen a few in my time, and I ain't fastidi- 
ous so as you can notice it. But let me tell you right now 
that I'm worth the devil alone knows how many millions, 
and that I'd sure give it all, right here on the bar, to turn 
down your hand. Which means I'd give the whole shooting 
match just to be back where I was before I quit sleeping 
under the stars and come into the hen-coops of cities to 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 3I3 

drink cocktails and lift up my feet and ride. Son, that's 
what's the matter with me, and that's the way I feel about 
it. The game ain't worth the candle. You just take care of 
yourself, and roll my advice over once in a while. Good 
night." 

He turned and lurched out of the place, the moral effect 
of his utterance largely spoiled by the fact that he was so 
patently full while he uttered it. 

Still in a daze, Daylight made to his hotel, accomplished 
his dinner, and prepared for bed. 

"The damned young whippersnapper ! " he muttered. 
"Put my hand down easy as you please. My hand! " 

He held up the offending member and regarded it with 
stupid wonder. The hand that had never been beaten! 
The hand that had made the Circle City giants wince! 
And a kid from college, with a laugh on his face, had put it 
down — twice ! Dede was right. He was not the same 
man. The situation would bear more serious looking into 
than he had ever given it. But this was not the time. In 
the morning, after a good sleep, he would give it considera- 
tion. 



CHAPTER XXII 

Daylight awoke with the familiar parched mouth and 
lips and throat, took a long drink of water from the pitcher 
beside his bed, and gathered up the train of thought where 
he had left it the night before. He reviewed the easement of 
the financial strain. Things were mending at last. While 
the going was still rough, the greatest dangers were already 
past. As he had told Hegan, a tight rein and careful play- 
ing were all that was needed now. Flurries and dangers 
were bound to come, but not so grave as the ones they had 
already weathered. He had been hit hard, but he was com- 
ing through without broken bones, which was more than 
Simon Dolliver and many another could say. And not 
one of his business friends had been ruined. He had com- 
pelled them to stay in hne to save himself, and they had 
been saved as well. 

His mind moved. on to the incident at the corner of the bar 
of the Parthenon, when the young athlete had turned his 
hand down. He was no longer stunned by the event, but he 
was shocked and grieved, as only a strong man can be, at 
this passing of his strength. And the issue was too clear for 
him to dodge, even with himself. He knew why his hand had 
gone down. Not because he was an old man. He was just in 
the first flush of his prime, and, by rights, it was the hand of 
the hammer-thrower which should have gone down. Day- 
light knew that he had taken liberties with himself. He had 
always looked upon this strength of his as permanent, and 
here, for years, it had been steadily oozing from him. As 
he had diagnosed it, he had come in from under the stars to 

314 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 315 

roost in the coops of cities. He had almost forgotten how to 
walk. He had lifted up his feet and been ridden around in 
automobiles, cabs and carriages, and electric cars. He had 
not exercised, and he had dry-rotted his muscles with alcohol. 

And was it worth it? What did all his money mean after 
all? Dede was right. It could buy him no more than one 
bed at a time, and at the same time it made him the abjectest 
of slaves. It tied him fast. He was tied by it right now. 
Even if he so desired, he could not lie abed this very day. 
His money called him. The office whistle would soon blow, 
and he must answer it. The early sunshine was streaming 
through his window — a fine day for a ride in the hills on 
Bob, with Dede beside him on her Mab. Yet all his millions 
could not buy him this one day. One of those flurries might 
come along, and he had to be on the spot to meet it. Thirty 
millions ! And they were powerless to persuade Dede to ride 
on Mab — Mab, whom he had bought, and who was unused 
and growing fat on pasture. What were thirty millions 
when they could not buy a man a ride with the girl he loved? 
Thirty millions ! — that made him come here and go there, 
that rode upon him like so many millstones, that destroyed 
him while they grew, that put their foot down and prevented 
him from winning this girl who worked for ninety dollars 
a month. 

Which was better? he asked himself. All this was 
Dede's own thought. It was what she had meant when 
she prayed he would go broke. He held up his offending 
right arm. It wasn't the same old arm. Of course she 
could not love that arm and that body as she had loved the 
strong, clean arm and body of years before. He didn't like 
that arm and body himself. A young whippersnapper had 
been able to take liberties with it. It had gone back on him. 
He sat up suddenly. No, by God, he had gone back on it! 
He had gone back on himself. He had gone back on Dede. 
She was right, a thousand times right, and she had sense 



31 6 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

enough to know it, sense enough to refuse to marry a money- 
slave with a whiskey-rotted carcass. 

He got out of bed and looked at himself in the long mirror 
on the wardrobe door. He wasn't pretty. The old-time 
lean cheeks were gone. These were heavy, seeming to hang 
down by their own weight. He looked for the lines of 
cruelty Dede had spoken of, and he found them, and he 
found the harshness in the eyes as well, the eyes that were 
muddy now after all the cocktails of the night before, and 
of the months and years before. He looked at the clearly 
defined pouches that showed under his eyes, and they 
shocked him. He rolled up the sleeve of his pajamas. 
No wonder the hammer-thrower had put his hand down. 
Those weren't muscles. A rising tide of fat had submerged 
them. He stripped off the pajama coat. Again he was 
shocked, this time by the bulk of his body. It wasn't 
pretty. The lean stomach had become a paunch. The 
ridged muscles of chest and shoulders and abdomen had 
broken down into rolls of flesh. 

He sat down on the bed, and through his mind drifted 
pictures of his youthful excellence, of the hardships he had 
endured over other men, of the Indians and dogs he had 
run off their legs in the heart-breaking days and nights on 
the Alaskan trail, of the feats of strength that had made 
him king over a husky race of frontiersmen. 

And this was age. Then there drifted across the field of 
vision of his mind's eye the old man he had encountered at 
Glen Ellen, coming up the hillside through the fires of sun- 
set, white-headed and white-bearded, eighty-four, in his 
hand the pail of foaming milk and in his face all the warm 
glow and content of the passing summer day. That had been 
age. "Yes siree, eighty-four, and spryer than most," he 
could hear the old man say. "And I ain't loafed none. 
I walked across the Plains with an ox-team and fit Injuns 
in '51, and I was a family man then with seven youngsters." 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 317 

Next he remembered the old woman of the chaparral, 
pressing grapes in her mountain clearing; and Ferguson, 
the little man who had scuttled into the road like a rabbit, 
the one-time managing editor of a great newspaper, who was 
content to live in the chaparral along with his spring of 
mountain water and his hand-reared and manicured fruit 
trees. Ferguson had solved a problem. A weakling and 
an alcoholic, he had run away from the doctors and the 
chicken-coop of a city, and soaked up health like a thirsty 
sponge. Well, Daylight pondered, if a sick man whom the 
doctors had given up could develop into a healthy farm 
laborer, what couldn't a merely stout man like himself do 
under similar circumstances? He caught a vision of his 
body with all its youthful excellence returned, and thought 
of Dede, and sat down suddenly on the bed, startled by the 
greatness of the idea that had come to him. 

He did not sit long. His mind, working in its customary 
way, like a steel trap, canvassed the idea in all its bearings. 
It was big — bigger than anything he had faced before. 
And he faced it squarely, picked it up in his two hands and 
turned it over and around and looked at it. The simplicity 
of it delighted him. He chuckled over it, reached his deci- 
sion, and began to dress. Midway in the dressing he 
stopped in order to use the telephone. 

Dede was the first he called up. 

"Don't come to the office this morning," he said. "I'm 
coming out to see you for a moment." 

He called up others. He ordered his motor-car. To 
Jones he gave instructions for the forwarding of Bob and 
Wolf to Glen Ellen, Hegan he surprised by asking him to 
look up the deed of the Glen Ellen ranch and make out a 
new one in Dede Mason's name. "Who?" Hegan de- 
manded. "Dede Mason," Daylight replied imperturbably 
— "the 'phone must be indistinct this morning. D-e-d-e 
M-a-s-o-n. Got it?" 



3l8 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Half an hour later he was flying out to Berkeley. And 
for the first time the big red car halted directly before the 
house. Dede offered to receive him in the parlor, but he 
shook his head and nodded toward her rooms. 

"In there," he said. "No other place would suit." 

As the door closed, his arms went out and around her. 
Then he stood with his hands on her shoulders and looking 
dowTi into her face. 

"Dede, if I tell you, flat and straight, that I'm going up to 
live on that ranch at Glen Ellen, that I ain't taking a cent 
with me, that I'm going to scratch for every bite I eat, and 
that I ain't going to play ary a card at the business game 
again, will you come along with me?" 

She gave a glad little cry, and he nestled her in closely. 
But the next moment she had thrust herself out from him 
to the old position at arm's length. 

"I — I don't understand," she said breathlessly. 

"And you ain't answered my proposition, though I guess 
no answer is necessary. We're just going to get married 
right away and start. I've sent Bob and Wolf along al- 
ready. When will you be ready?" 

Dede could not forbear to smile. "My, what a hurricane 
of a man it is. I'm quite blown away. And you haven't 
explained a word to me." 

Daylight smiled responsively. 

"Look here, Dede, this is what card-sharps call a show- 
down. No more philandering and frills and long-distance 
sparring between you and me. We're just going to talk 
straight out in meeting — the truth, the whole truth, and 
nothing but the truth. Now you answer some questions 
for me, and then I'll answer yours." He paused. "Well, 
I've got only one question after all: Do you love me enough 
to marry me?" 

"But — " she began. 

"No buts," he broke in sharply. "This is a show-down. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 319 

WTien I say marry, I mean what I told you at first, that we'd 
go up and live on the ranch. Do you love me enough for 
that?" 

She looked at him for a moment, then her lids dropped, 
and all of her seemed to advertise consent. 

"Come on, then, let's start." The muscles of his legs 
tensed involuntarily as if he were about to lead her to the 
door. "My auto's waiting outside. There's nothing to 
delay excepting getting on your hat." 

He bent over her. "I reckon it's allowable," he said, as 
he kissed her. 

It was a long embrace, and she was the first to speak. 

"You haven't answered my questions. How is this 
possible? How can you leave your business? Has any- 
thing happened?" 

"No, nothing's happened yet, but it's going to, blame 
quick. I've taken your preaching to heart, and I've come 
to the penitent form. You are my Lord God, and I'm sure 
going to serve you. The rest can go to thunder. You 
were sure right. I've been the slave to my money, and 
since I can't serve two masters I'm letting the money slide. 
I'd sooner have you than all the money in the world, that's 
all." Again he held her closely in his arms. "And I've 
sure got you, Dede. I've sure got you. 

"And I want to tell you a few more. I've taken my last 
drink. You're marrying a whiskey-soak, but your husband 
won't be that. He's going to grow into another man so 
quick you won't know him. A couple of months from now, 
up there in Glen Ellen, you'll wake up some morning and 
find you've got a perfect stranger in the house with you, 
and you'll have to get introduced to him all over again. 
You'll say, 'I'm Mrs. Harnish, who are you?' And I'll 
say, 'I'm Elam Harnish's younger brother. I've just 
arrived from Alaska to attend the funeral.' 'What fu- 
neral?' you'll say. And I'll say, 'Why, the funeral of 



320 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

that good-for-nothing, gambling, whiskey-drinking Burning 
Daylight — the man that died of fatty degeneration of the 
heart from sitting in night and day at the business game.' 
'Yes ma'am,' I'll say, 'he's sure a gone 'coon, but I've come 
to take his place and make you happy. And now, ma'am, 
if you'll allow me, I'll just meander down to the pasture and 
milk the cow while you're getting breakfast.' " 

Again he caught her hand and made as if to start with her 
for the door. Wlien she resisted, he bent and kissed her 
again and again. 

"I'm sure hungry for you, little woman," he murmured. 
''You make thirty millions look like thirty cents." 

"Do sit dowTi and be sensible," she urged, her cheeks 
flushed, the golden light in her eyes burning more golden 
than he had ever seen it before. 

But Daylight was bent on having his way, and when he 
sat down it was with her beside him and his arm around 
her. 

" 'Yes, ma'am,' I'll say, 'Burning DayHght was a pretty 
good cuss, but it's better that he's gone. He quit rolling up 
in his rabbit-skins and sleeping in the snow, and went to liv- 
ing in a chicken-coop. He lifted up his legs and quit walk- 
ing and working, and took to existing on Martini cocktails 
and Scotch whiskey. He thought he loved you, ma'am, 
and he did his best, but he loved his cocktails more, and he 
loved his money more, and himself more, and 'most every- 
thing else more than he did you.' And then I'll say, 'Ma'am, 
you just run your eyes over me and see how different I am. 
I ain't got a cocktail thirst, and all the money I got is a dol- 
lar and forty cents and I've got to buy a new axe, the last 
one being plumb wore out, and I can love you just about 
eleven times as much as your first husband did. You see, 
ma'am, he went all to fat. And there ain't ary ounce of 
fat on me.' And I'll roll up my sleeve and show you, and 
say, 'Mrs. Harnish, after having experience with being mar- 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 321 

ried to that old fat money-bags, do you-all mind marrying 
a slim young fellow like me?' And you'll just wipe a tear 
away for poor old Daylight, and kind of lean toward me 
with a willing expression in your eye, and then I'll blush 
maybe some, being a young fellow, and put my arm around 
you, like that, and then — why, then I'll up and marry my 
brother's widow, and go out and do the chores while she's 
cooking a bite to eat.'^ 

"But you haven't answered my questions," she re- 
proached him, as she emerged, rosy and radiant, from the 
embrace that had accompanied the culmination of his 
narrative. 

"Now just what do you want to know?" he asked. 

"I want to know how all this is possible? How you are 
able to leave your business at a time like this? What you 
meant by saying that something was going to happen 
quickly? I — " She hesitated and blushed. "I an- 
swered your question, you know." 

"Let's go and get married," he urged, all the whimsicality 
of his utterance duplicated in his eyes. "You know I've 
got to make way for that husky young brother of mine, and 
I ain't got long to live." She made an impatient moue, and 
he continued seriously. "You see, it's like this, Dede. 
I've been working like forty horses ever since this blamed 
panic set in, and all the time some of those ideas you'd given 
me were getting ready to sprout. Well, they sprouted this 
morning, that's all. I started to get up, expecting to go 
to the office as usual. But I didn't go to the office. All 
that sprouting took place there and then. The sun was 
shining in the window, and I knew it was a fine day in the 
hills. And I knew I wanted to ride in the hills with you 
just about thirty million times more than I wanted to go to 
the office. And I knew all the time it was impossible. And 
why? Because of the office. The office wouldn't let me. 
All my money reared right up on its hind legs and got in 



322 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

the way and wouldn't let me. It's a way that blamed money 
has of getting in the way. You know that yourself. 

"And then I made up my mind that I was to the divid- 
ing of the ways. One way led to the office. The other way 
led to Berkeley. And I took the Berkeley road. I'm never 
going to set foot in the office again. That's all gone, 
finished, over and done with, and I'm letting it slide clean 
to smash and then some. My mind's set on this. You 
see, I've got religion, and it's sure the old-time religion; 
it's love and you, and it's older than the oldest religion 
in the world. It's IT, that's what it is — IT, with a cap- 
ital I-T." 

She looked at him with a sudden, startled expression. 

"You mean — ?" she began. 

"I mean just that. I'm wiping the slate clean. I'm 
letting it all go to smash. When them thirty million dol- 
lars stood up to my face and said I couldn't go out with you 
in the hills to-day, I knew the time had come for me to put 
my foot down. And I'm putting it down. I've got you, 
and my strength to work for you, and that little ranch in 
Sonoma. That's all I want, and that's all I'm going to 
save out, along with Bob and Wolf, a suit case and a hun- 
dred and forty hair bridles. All the rest goes, and good 
riddance. It's that much junk." 

But Dede was insistent. 

"Then this — this tremendous loss is all unnecessary?" 
she asked. 

"Just what I haven't been telling you. It is necessary. 
If that money thinks it can stand up right to my face and 
say I can't go riding with you — " 

"No, no; be serious," Dede broke in. "I don't mean 
that, and you know it. WTiat I want to know is, from a 
standpoint of business, is this failure necessary?" 

He shook his head. 

"You bet it isn't necessary. That's the point of it. I'm 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 323 

not letting go of it because I'm licked to a standstill by the 
panic and have got to let go. I'm firing it out when I've 
licked the panic and am winning, hands down. That just 
shows how little I think of it. It's you that counts, little 
woman, and I make my play accordingly." 

But she drew away from his sheltering arms. 

"You are mad, Elam." 

"Call me that again," he murmured ecstatically. "It's 
sure sweeter than the chink of millions." 

All this she ignored. 

"It's madness. You don't know what you are doing — " 

"Oh, yes, I do," he assured her. "I'm winning the 
dearest wish of my heart. Why, your little finger is worth 
more — " 

"Do be sensible for a moment." 

"I was never more sensible in my life. I know what I 
want, and I'm going to get it. I want you and the open 
air. I want to get my foot off the paving-stones and my 
ear away from the telephone. I want a little ranch-house in 
one of the prettiest bits of country God ever made, and I 
want to do the chores around that ranch-house — milk 
cows, and chop wood, and curry horses, and plough the 
ground, and all the rest of it; and I want you there in the 
ranch-house with me. I'm plumb tired of everything else, 
and clean wore out. And I'm sure the luckiest man alive, 
for I've got what money can't buy. I've got you, and 
thirty millions couldn't buy you, nor three thousand mil- 
lions, nor thirty cents — " 

A knock at the door interrupted him, and he was left to 
stare delightedly at the Crouched Venus and on around 
the room at Dede's dainty possessions, while she answered 
the telephone. 

"It is Mr. Hegan," she said, on returning. "He is hold- 
ing the line. He says it is important." 

Daylight shook his head and smiled. 



324 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

"Please tell Mr. Hegan to hang up. I'm done with the 
office and I don't want to hear anything about anything." 

A minute later she was back again. 

''He refuses to hang up. He told me to tell you that 
Unwin is in the office now, waiting to see you, and Harri- 
son, too. Mr. Hegan said that Grimshaw and Hodgkins 
are in trouble. That it looks as if they are going to break. 
And he said something about protection." 

It was startling information. Both Unwin and Harrison 
represented big banking corporations, and Daylight knew 
that if the house of Grimshaw and Hodgkins went it would 
precipitate a number of failures and start a flurry of serious 
dimensions. But Daylight smiled, and shook his head, and 
mimicked the stereotyped office tone of voice as he said: — 

"Miss Mason, you will kindly tell Mr. Hegan that there 
is nothing doing and to hang up." 

"But you can't do this," she pleaded. 

"Watch me," he grimly answered. 

"Elam!" 

"Say it again!" he cried. "Say it again, and a dozen 
Grimshaws and Hodgkins can smash! " 

He caught her by the hand and drew her to him. 

"You let Hegan hang on to that line till he's tired. We 
can't be wasting a second on him on a day like this. He's 
only in love with books and things, but I've got a real live 
woman in my arms that's loving me all the time she's kick- 
ing over the traces." 



CHAPTER XXIII 

"But I know something of the fight you have been mak- 
ing," Dede contended. "If you stop now, all the work you 
tiave done, everything, will be destroyed. You have no 
right to do it. You can't do it." 

Daylight was obdurate. He shook his head and smiled 
tantalizingly. 

"Nothing will be destroyed, Dede, nothing. You don't 
inderstand this business game. It's done on paper. Don't 
y^ou see? Where's the gold I dug out of Klondike? Why, 
it's in twenty-dollar gold pieces, in gold watches, in wed- 
ding rings. No matter what happens to me, the twenty- 
iollar pieces, the watches, and the wedding rings remain, 
suppose I died right now. It wouldn't affect the gold one 
!ota. It's sure the same with this present situation. All 
[ stand for is paper. I've got the paper for thousands of 
icres of land. All right. Burn up the paper, and burn 
ne along with it. The land remains, don't it? The rain 
[alls on it, the seeds sprout in it,,the trees grow out of it, the 
louses stand on it, the electric cars run over it. It's paper 
:hat business is run on. I lose my paper, or I lose my life, 
Vs all the same; it won't alter one grain of sand in all that 
land, or twist one blade of grass around sideways. 

"Nothing is going to be lost — not one pile out of the 
locks, not one railroad spike, not one ounce of steam out 
Df the gauge of a ferry-boat. The cars will go on running, 
tvhether I hold the paper or somebody else holds it. The 
tide has set toward Oakland. People are beginning to 
pour in. We're selling building lots again. There is no 

325 



32 6 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

stopping that tide. No matter what happens to me or the 
paper, them three hundred thousand folks are coming just 
the same. And there'll be cars to carry them around, and 
houses to hold them, and good water for them to drink, 
and electricity to give them light, and all the rest." 

By this time Hegan had arrived in an automobile. The 
honk of it came in through the open window, and they saw 
it stop alongside the big red machine. In the car were 
Unwin and Harrison, while Jones sat with the chauffeur. 

"I'll see Hegan," Daylight told Dede. "There's no need 
for the rest. They can wait in the machine." 

"Is he drunk?" Hegan whispered to Dede at the door. 

She shook her head and showed him in. 

"Good morning, Larry," was Daylight's greeting. "Sit 
down and rest your feet. You sure seem to be in a flutter." 

"I am," the little Irishman snapped back. "Grimshaw 
and Hodgkins are going to smash if something isn't done 
quick. Why didn't you come to the office? What are you 
going to do about it?" 

"Nothing," Daylight drawled lazily. "Except let them 
smash, I guess — " 

"But—" 

"I've had no dealings with Grimshaw and Hodgkins. 
I don't owe them anything. Besides, I'm going to smash 
myself. Look here, Larry, you know me. You know when 
I make up my mind I mean it. Well, I've sure made up 
my mind. I'm tired of the whole game. I'm letting go 
of it as fast as I can, and a smash is the quickest way to 
let go." 

Hegan stared at his chief, then passed his horror-stricken 
gaze on to Dede, who nodded in sympathy. 

"So let her smash, Larry," Daylight went on. "All 
you've got to do is to protect yourself and all our friends. 
Now you listen to me while I tell you what to do. Every- 
thing is in good shape to do it. Nobody must get hurt. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 327 

Everybody that stood by me must come through without 
damage. All the back wages and salaries must be paid 
pronto. All the money I've switched away from the water 
company, the street cars, and the ferries must be switched 
back. And you won't get hurt yourself none. Every 
company you got stock in will come through — " 

"You are crazy, Daylight!" the little lawyer cried out. 
"This is all babbling lunacy. What is the matter with you? 
You haven't been eating a drug or something?" 

"I sure have," Daylight smiled reply. "And I'm now 
coughing it up. I'm sick of living in a city and playing 
business. I'm going off to the sunshine, and the country, 
and the green grass. And Dede, here, is going with me. 
So you've got the chance to be the first to congratulate me." 

"Congratulate the — the devil 1 " Hegan spluttered. "I'm 
not going to stand for this sort of foolishness." 

"Oh, yes, you are; because if you don't there'll be a bigger 
smash and some folks will most likely get hurt. You're 
worth a million or more yourself, now, and if you listen 
to me you come through with a whole skin. I want to get 
hurt, and get hurt to the limit. That's what I'm looking 
for, and there's no man or bunch of men can get between 
me and what I'm looking for. Savvee, Hegan? Savvee?" 

"What have you done to him?" Hegan snarled at Dede. 

"Hold on there, Larry." For the first time Daylight's 
voice was sharp, while all the old lines of cruelty in his face 
stood forth. "Miss Mason is going to be my wife, and 
while I don't mind your talking to her all you want, you've 
got to use a different tone of voice or you'll be heading for 
a hospital, which will sure be an unexpected sort of smash. 
And let me tell you one other thing. This-all is my doing. 
She says I'm crazy, too." 

Hegan shook his head in speechless sadness and con- 
tinued to stare. 

"There'll be temporary receiverships, of course," Day- 



328 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

light advised; "but they won't bother none or last long. 
What you must do immediately is to save everybody — 
the men that have been letting their wages ride with me, 
all the creditors, and all the concerns that have stood by. 
There's the wad of land that New Jersey crowd has been 
dickering for. They'll take all of a couple of thousand 
acres and will close now if you give them half a chance. 
That Fairmount section is the cream of it, and they'll dig 
up as high as a thousand dollars an acre for a part of it. 
That'll help out some. That five-hundred acre tract be- 
yond, you'll be lucky if they pay two hundred an acre.'^ 

Dede, who had been scarcely listening, seemed abruptly 
to make up her mind, and stepped forward where she con- 
fronted the two men. Her face was pale, but set with de- 
termination, so that Daylight, looking at it, was reminded 
of the day when she first rode Bob. 

"Wait," she said. "I want to say something. Elam, 
if you do this insane thing, I won't marry you. I refuse to 
marry you." 

Hegan, in spite of his misery, gave her a quick, grateful 
look. 

"I'll take my chance on that," Daylight began. 

"Wait!" she again interrupted. "And if you don't do 
this thing, I will marry you." 

"Let me get this proposition clear." DayHght spoke with 
exasperating slowness and dehberation. "As I understand 
it, if I keep right on at the business game, you'll sure marry 
me? You'll marry me if I keep on working my head off 
and drinking Martinis?" 

After each question he paused, while she nodded an affir^ 
mation. 

"And you'll marry me right away?" 

"Yes." 

"To-day? Now?" 

"Yes." 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 329 

He pondered for a moment. 

"No, little woman, I won't do it. It won't work, and you 
know it yourself. I want you — all of you; and to get it 
I'll have to give you all of myself, and there'll be darn little 
of myself left over to give if I stay with the business game. 
Why, Dede, with you on the ranch with me, I'm sure of you 
— and of myself. I'm sure of you, anyrvay. You can 
talk will or won't all you want, but you're sure going to 
marry me just the same. And now, Larry, you'd better 
be going. I'll be at the hotel in a little while, and since I'm 
not going a step into the office again, bring all papers to 
sign and the rest over to my rooms. And you can get me 
on the 'phone there any time. This smash is going through. 
Sawee? I'm quit and done." 

He stood up as a sign for Hegan to go. The latter was 
plainly stunned. He also rose to his feet, but stood look- 
ing helplessly around. 

"Sheer, downright, absolute insanity," he muttered. 

Daylight put his hand on the other's shoulder. 

"Buck up, Larry. You're always talking about the 
wonders of human nature, and here I am giving you another 
sample of it and you ain't appreciating it, I'm a bigger 
dreamer than you are, that's all, and I'm sure dreaming 
what's coming true. It's the biggest, best dream I ever had, 
and I'm going after it to get it — " 

"By losing all you've got," Hegan exploded at him. 

"Sure — by losing all I've got that I don't want. But 
I'm hanging on to them hundred and forty hair bridles just 
the same. Now you'd better hustle out to Unwin and Har- 
rison and get on down town. I'll be at the hotel, and you 
can call me up any time." 

He turned to Dede as soon as Hegan was gone, and took 
her by the hand. 

"And now, little woman, you needn't come to the office 
any more. Consider yourself discharged. And remember, 



330 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

I was your employer, so you've got to come to me for a 
recommendation, and if you're not real good, I won't give 
you one. In the meantime, you just rest up and think about 
what things you want to pack, because we'll just about 
have to set up housekeeping on your stuff — leastways, the 
front part of the house." 

"But, Elam, I won't, I won't! If you do this mad thing 
I never will marry you." 

She attempted to take her hand away, but he closed on it 
with a protecting, fatherly clasp. 

''Will you be straight and honest? All right, here goes. 
Which would you sooner have — me and the money, or me 
and the ranch?" 

"But — " she began. 

"No buts. Me and the money?" 

She did not answer. 

"Me and the ranch?" 

Still she did not answer, and still he was undisturbed. 

"You see, I know your answer, Dede, and there's nothing 
more to say. Here's where you and I quit and hit the high 
places for Sonoma. You make up your mind what you 
want to pack, and I'll have some men out here in a couple 
of days to do it for you. It will be about the last work 
anybody else ever does for us. You and I will do the un- 
packing and the arranging ourselves." 

She made a last attempt. 

"Elam, won't you be reasonable? There is time to re- 
consider. I can telephone down and catch Mr. Hegan as 
soon as he reaches the office — " 

"Why, I'm the only reasonable man in the bunch right 
now," he rejoined. "Look at me — as calm as you please, 
and as happy as a king, while they're fluttering around Hke 
a lot of cranky hens whose heads are liable to be cut off." 

"I'd cry, if I thought it would do any good," she threat- 
ened. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 33 1 

"In which case I reckon I'd have to hold you in my arms 
some more and sort of soothe you down," he threatened 
back. "And now I'm going to go. It's too bad you got 
rid of Mab. You could have sent her up to the ranch. But 
I'll see you've got a mare to ride of some sort or other." 

As he stood at the top of the steps, leaving, she said: — 

"You needn't send those men. There will be no packing, 
because I am not going to marry you." 

"I'm not a bit scared," he answered, and went down the 
steps. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

Three days later, Daylight rode to Berkeley in his red 
car. It was for the last time, for on the morrow the big 
machine passed into another's possession. It had been a 
strenuous three days, for his smash had been the biggest the 
panic had precipitated in California. The papers had been 
filled with it, and a great cry of indignation had gone up 
from the very men who later found that Daylight had fully 
protected their interests. It was these facts, coming slowly 
to light, that gave rise to the widely repeated charge that 
Daylight had gone insane. It was the unanimous convic- 
tion among business men that no sane man could possibly 
behave in such fashion. On the other hand, neither his 
prolonged steady drinking nor his affair with Dede became 
public, so the only conclusion attainable was that the wild 
financier from Alaska had gone lunatic. And Daylight had 
grinned and confirmed the suspicion by refusing to see the 
reporters. 

He halted the automobile before Dede's door, and met 
her with his same rushing tactics, enclosing her in his arms 
before a word could be uttered. Not until afterward, when 
she had recovered herself from him and got him seated, did 
he begin to speak. 

"I've done it," he announced. "You've seen the news- 
papers, of course. I'm plumb cleaned out, and I've just 
called around to find out what day you feel like starting 
for Glen Ellen. It'll have to be soon, for it's real expensive 
living in Oakland these days. My board at the hotel is 

332 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 333 

only paid to the end of the week, and I can't afford to stay- 
on after that. And beginning with to-morrow I've got to 
use the street cars, and they sure eat up the nickels." 

He paused, and waited, and looked at her. Indecision 
and trouble showed on her face. Then the smile he knew so 
well began to grow on her lips and in her eyes, until she 
threw back her head and laughed in the old forthright 
boyish way. 

"When are those men coming to pack for me?" she asked. 

And again she laughed and simulated a vain attempt to 
escape his bearlike arms. 

"Dear Elam," she whispered; "dear Elam." And of her- 
self, for the first time, she kissed him. 

She ran her hand caressingly through his hair. 

"Your eyes are all gold right now," he said. "I can look 
in them and tell just how much you love me." 

"They have been all gold for you, Elam, for a long time. 
I think, on our little ranch, they will always be all gold." 

"Your hair has gold in it, too, a sort of fiery gold." He 
turned her face suddenly and held it between his hands and 
looked long into her eyes. "And your eyes were full of gold 
only the other day, when you said you wouldn't marry me." 

She nodded and laughed. 

"You would have your will," she confessed. "But I 
couldn't be a party to such madness. All that money was 
yours, not mine. But I was loving you all the time, Elam, 
for the great big boy you are, breaking the thirty-million toy 
with which you had grown tired of playing. And when I 
said no, I knew all the time it was yes. And I am sure that 
my eyes were golden all the time. I had only one fear, and 
that was that you would fail to lose everything. Because, 
dear, I knew I should marry you anyway, and I did so want 
just you and the ranch and Bob and Wolf and those horse- 
hair bridles. Shall I tell you a secret? As soon as you left, 
I telephoned the man to whom I sold Mab." 



334 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

She hid her face against his breast for an instant, and 
then looked at him again, gladly radiant. 

"You see, Elam, in spite of what my lips said, my mind 
was made up then, I — I simply had to marry you. But 
I was praying you would succeed in losing everything. And 
so I tried to find what had become of Mab. But the man 
had sold her and did not know what had become of her. 
You see, I wanted to ride with you over the Glen Ellen 
hills, on Mab and you on Bob, just as I had ridden with you 
through the Piedmont hills." 

The disclosure of Mab's whereabouts trembled on Day- 
Kght's lips, but he forbore. 

"I'll promise you a mare that you'll like just as much as 
Mab," he said. 

But Dede shook her head, and on that one point refused 
to be comforted. 

"Now, I've got an idea," Daylight said, hastening to get 
the conversation on less perilous ground. "We're running 
away from cities, and you have no kith nor kin, so it don't 
seem exactly right that we should start off by getting mar- 
ried in a city. So here's the idea: I'll run up to the ranch 
and get things in shape around the house and give the care- 
taker his walking-papers. You follow me in a couple of 
days, coming on the morning train. I'll have the preacher 
fixed and waiting. And here's another idea. You bring your 
riding togs in a suit case. And as soon as the ceremony's 
over, you can go to the hotel and change. Then out you 
come, and you find me waiting with a couple of horses, and 
we'll ride over the landscape so as you can see the prettiest 
parts of the ranch the first thing. And she's sure pretty, 
that ranch. And now that it's settled, I'll be waiting for 
you at the morning train day after to-morrow." 

Dede blushed as she spoke. 

"You are such a hurricane." 

"Well, ma'am," he drawled, "I sure hate to burn daylight. 



I 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 335 

And you and I have burned a heap of daylight. We've 
been scandalously extravagant. We might have been mar- 
ried years ago." 

Two day^ later, Daylight stood waiting outside the little 
Glen Ellen hotel. The ceremony was over, and he had left 
Dede to go inside and change into her riding-habit while he 
brought the horses. He held them now, Bob and Mab, and 
in the shadow of the watering-trough Wolf lay and looked 
on. Already two days of ardent California sun had touched 
with new fires the ancient bronze in Daylight's face. But 
warmer still was the glow that came into his cheeks and 
burned in his eyes as he saw Dede coming out the door, 
riding-whip in hand, clad in the familiar corduroy skirt and 
leggings of the old Piedmont days. There was warmth and 
glow in her own face as she answered his gaze and glanced 
on past him to the horses. Then she saw Mab. But her 
gaze leaped back to the man. 

"Oh, Elam!" she breathed. 

It was almost a prayer, but a prayer that included a 
thousand meanings. Dayhght strove to feign sheepishness, 
but his heart was singing too wild a song for mere playful- 
ness. All things had been in the naming of his name — 
reproach, refined away by gratitude, and all compounded 
of joy and love. 

She stepped forward and caressed the mare, and again 
turned and looked at the man, and breathed: — 

"Oh, ElamJ" 

And all that was in her voice was in her eyes, and in them 
Daylight glimpsed a profundity deeper and wider than any 
speech or thought — the whole vast inarticulate mystery 
and wonder of sex and love. 

Again he strove for playfulness of speech, but it was too 
great a moment for even love facetiousness to enter in. 
Neither spoke. She gathered the reins, and, bending. Day- 



336 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

light received her foot in his hand. She sprang, as he Ufted, 
and gained the saddle. The next moment he was mounted 
and beside her, and, with Wolf sliding along ahead in his 
typical wolf-trot, they went up the hill that led out of town 
— two lovers on two chestnut sorrel steeds, riding out 
and away to honeymoon through the warm summer day. 
Daylight felt himself drunken as with wine. He was at 
the topmost pinnacle of life. Higher than this no man 
could climb nor had ever climbed. It was his day of days, 
his love-time and his mating-time, and all crowned by this 
virginal possession of a mate who had said "Oh, Elam," 
as she had said it, and looked at him out of her soul as 
she had looked. 

They cleared the crest of the hill, and he watched the joy 
mount in her face as she gazed on the sweet, fresh land. 
He pointed out the group of heavily wooded knolls across 
the rolling stretches of ripe grain. 

"They're ours," he said. "And they're only a sample 
of the ranch. Wait till you see the big caiion. There are 
'coons down there, and back here on the Sonoma there 
are mink. And deer! — why, that mountain's sure thick 
with them, and I reckon we can scare up a mountain- 
lion if we want to real hard. And, say, there's a little 
meadow — well, I ain't going to tell you another word. 
You wait and see for yourself." 

They turned in at the gate, where the road to the clay- 
pit crossed the fields, and both sniffed with delight as the 
warm aroma of the ripe hay rose in their nostrils. As on his 
first visit, the larks were uttering their rich notes and flutter- 
ing up before the horses until the woods and the flower- 
scattered glades were reached, when the larks gave way to 
blue jays and woodpeckers. 

"We're on our land now," he said, as they left the hay- 
field behind. "It runs right across country over the rough- 
est parts. Just you wait and see." 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 337 

As on the first day, he turned aside from the clay-pit and 
worked through the woods to the left, passing the first 
spring and jumping the horses over the ruined remnants of 
the stake-and-rider fence. From here on, Dede was in an 
unending ecstasy. By the spring that gurgled among the 
redwoods grew another great wild lily, bearing on its slender 
stalk the prodigious outburst of white waxen bells. This 
time he did not dismount, but led the way to the deep 
canon where the stream had cut a passage among the knolls. 
He had been at work here, and a steep and slippery horse 
trail now crossed the creek, so they rode up beyond, through 
the sombre redwood twilight, and, farther on, through a 
tangled wood of oak and madrofio. They came to a small 
clearing of several acres, where the grain stood waist high. 

"Ours," Daylight said. 

She bent in her saddle, plucked a stalk of the ripe grain, 
and nibbled it between her teeth. 

"Sweet mountain hay," she cried. "The kind Mab likes." 

And throughout the ride she continued to utter cries and 
ejaculations of surprise and delight. 

"And you never told me all this!" she reproached him, 
as they looked across the little clearing and over the de- 
scending slopes of woods to the great curving sweep of 
Sonoma Valley. 

"Come," he said; and they turned and went back through 
the forest shade, crossed the stream and came to the lily by 
the spring. 

Here, also, where the way led up the tangle of the steep 
hill, he had cut a rough horse trail. As they forced their 
way up the zigzags, they caught glimpses out and down 
through the sea of foliage. Yet always were their farthest 
glimpses stopped by the closing vistas of green, and, yet 
always, as they climbed, did the forest roof arch overhead, 
with only here and there rifts that permitted shattered 
shafts of sunlight to penetrate. And all about them were 



33^ BURNING DAYLIGHT 

ferns, a score of varieties, from the tiny gold-backs and 
maidenhair to huge brakes six and eight feet tall. Below 
them, as they mounted, they glimpsed great gnarled trunks 
and branches of ancient trees, and above them were similar 
great gnarled branches. 

Dede stopped her horse and sighed with the beauty of it 
all. 

"It is as if we are swimmers," she said, "rising out of a 
deep pool of green tranquillity. Up above is the sky and 
the sun, but this is a pool, and we are fathoms deep." 

They started their horses, but a dog-tooth violet, shoul- 
dering amongst the maidenhair, caught her eye and made 
her rein in again. 

They cleared the crest and emerged from the pool as if 
into another world, for now they were in the thicket of 
velvet-trunked young madronos and looking down the open, 
sun-washed hillside, across the nodding grasses, to the drifts 
of blue and white nemophilae that carpeted the tiny meadow 
on either side the tiny stream. Dede clapped her hands. 

"It's sure prettier than office furniture," Daylight re- 
marked. 

"It sure is," she answered. 

And Daylight, who knew his weakness in the use of the 
particular word sure, knew that she had repeated it de- 
liberately and with love. 

They crossed the stream and took the cattle track over 
the low rocky hill and through the scrub forest of manzanita, 
till they emerged on the next tiny valley with its meadow- 
bordered streamlet. 

"If we don't run into some quail pretty soon, I'll be sur- 
prised some," Daylight said. 

And as the words left his lips there was a wild series of 
explosive thrummings as the old quail arose from all about 
Wolf, while the young ones scuttled for safety and dis- 
appeared miraculously before the spectators' very eyes. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 339 

He showed her the hawk's nest he had found in the light- 
ning-shattered top of the redwood, and she discovered a 
wood-rat's nest which he had not seen before. Next they 
took the old wood-road and came out on the dozen acres of 
clearing where the wine grapes grew in the wine-colored 
volcanic soil. Then they followed the cow-path through 
more woods and thickets and scattered glades, and dropped 
down the hillside to where the farm-house, poised on the 
lip of the big caiion, came into view only when they were 
right upon it. 

Dede stood on the wide porch that ran the length of the 
house while Daylight tied the horses. To Dede it was 
very quiet. It was the dry, warm, breathless calm of Cali- 
fornia midday. All the world seemed dozing. From some- 
where pigeons were cooing lazily. With a deep sigh of 
satisfaction, Wolf, who had drunk his fill at all the streams 
along the way, dropped down in the cool shadow of the 
porch. She heard the footsteps of Daylight returning, and 
caught her breath with a quick intake. He took her hand 
in his, and, as he turned the door-knob, felt her hesitate. 
Then he put his arm around her; the door swung open, and 
together they passed in. 



CHAPTER XXV 

Many persons, themselves city-bred and city-reared, 
have fled to the soil and succeeded in winning great happi- 
ness. In such cases they have succeeded only by going 
through a process of savage disillusionment. But with Dede 
and Daylight it was different. They had both been born on 
the soil, and they knew its naked simplicities and rawer 
ways. They were like two persons, after far wandering, 
who had merely come home again. There was less of the 
unexpected in their dealings with nature, while theirs was 
all the delight of reminiscence. What might appear sordid 
and squalid to the fastidiously reared, was to them emi- 
nently wholesome and natural. The commerce of nature 
was to them no unknown and untried trade. They made 
fewer mistakes. They already knew, and it was a joy to 
remember what they had forgotten. 

And another thing they learned was that it was easier for 
one who has gorged at the flesh-pots to content himself with 
the meagreness of a crust, than for one who has known only 
the crust. Not that their Hfe was meagre. It was that 
they found keener delights and deeper satisfactions in little 
things. Daylight, who had played the game in its biggest 
and most fantastic aspects, found that here, on the slopes 
of Sonoma Mountain, it was still the same old game. Man 
had still work to perform, forces to combat, obstacles to 
overcome. WTien he experimented in a small way at rais- 
ing a few pigeons for market, he found no less zest in cal- 
culating in squabs than formerly when he had calculated 
in millions. Achievement was no less achievement, while 

340 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 34I 

the process of it seemed more rational and received the 
sanction of his reason. 

The domestic cat that had gone wild and that preyed on 
his pigeons, he found, by the comparative standard, to be of 
no less paramount menace than a Charles Klinkner in the 
field of finance, trying to raid him for several millions. The 
hawks and weasels and 'coons were so many Dowsetts, Let- 
tons, and Guggenhammers that struck at him secretly. 
The sea of wild vegetation that tossed its surf against the 
boundaries of all his clearings and that sometimes crept in 
and flooded in a single week was no mean enemy to contend 
with and subdue. His fat-soiled vegetable-garden in the 
nook of hills that failed of its best was a problem of engross- 
ing importance, and when he had solved it by putting in 
drain-tile, the joy of the achievement was ever with him. He 
never worked in it and found the soil unpacked and tract- 
able without experiencing the thrill of accomplishment. 

There was the matter of the plumbing. He was enabled to 
purchase the materials through a lucky sale of a number of 
his hair bridles. The work he did himself, though more 
than once he was forced to call in Dede to hold tight with a 
pipe-wrench. And in the end, when the bath-tub and the 
stationary tubs were installed and in working order, he 
could scarcely tear himself away from the contemplation of 
what his hands had wrought. The first evening, missing 
him, Dede sought and found him, lamp in hand, staring with 
silent glee at the tubs. He rubbed his hand over their 
smooth wooden lips and laughed aloud, and was as shame- 
faced as any boy when she caught him thus secretly exult- 
ing in his own prowess. 

It was this adventure in wood-working and plumbing that 
brought about the building of the little workshop, where he 
slowly gathered a collection of loved tools. And he, who in 
the old days, out of his millions, could purchase immediately 
whatever he might desire, learned the new joy of the posses- 



342 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

sion that follows upon rigid economy and desire long 
delayed. He waited three months before daring the extrava- 
gance of a Yankee screw-driver, and his glee in the marvel- 
lous little mechanism was so keen that Dede conceived 
forthright a great idea. For six months she saved her egg- 
money, which was hers by right of allotment, and on his 
birthday presented him with a turning-lathe of wonderful 
simplicity and multifarious efficiencies. And their mutual 
delight in the tool, which was his, was only equalled by their 
delight in Mab's first foal, which was Dede's special private 
property. 

It was not until the second summer that Daylight built the 
huge fireplace that outrivalled Ferguson's across the valley. 
For all these things took time, and Dede and Daylight were 
not in a hurry. Theirs was not the mistake of the average 
city-dweller who flees in ultra-modern innocence to the soil. 
They did not essay too much. Neither did they have a 
mortgage to clear, nor did they desire wealth. They wanted 
little in the way of food, and they had no rent to pay. So 
they planned unambitiously, reserving their lives for each 
other and for the compensations of country-dwelling from 
which the average country-dweller is barred. From Fer- 
guson's example, too, they profited much. Here was a man 
who asked for but the plainest fare; who ministered to his 
own simple needs with his own hands ; who worked out as a 
laborer only when he needed money to buy books and maga- 
zines; and who saw to it that the major portion of his waking 
time was for enjoyment. He ioved to loaf long afternoons 
in the shade with his books or to be up with the dawn and 
away over the hills. 

On occasion he accompanied Dede and Daylight on deer 
hunts through the wild caiions and over the rugged steeps of 
Hood Mountain, though more often Dede and Daylight were 
out alone. This riding was one of their chief joys. Every 
wrinkle and crease in the hills they explored, and they came 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 343 

to know every secret spring and hidden dell in the whole 
surrounding wall of the valley. They learned all the trails 
and cow-paths; but nothing delighted them more than to 
essay the roughest and most impossible rides, where they 
were glad to crouch and crawl along the narrowest deer-runs, 
Bob and Mab struggling and forcing their way along behind. 

Back from their rides they brought the seeds and bulbs of 
wild flowers to plant in favoring nooks on the ranch. Along 
the foot trail which led down the side of the big cafion to 
the intake of the water-pipe, they established their fernery. 
It was not a formal affair, and the ferns were left to them- 
selves. Dede and Daylight merely introduced new ones 
from time to time, changing them from one wild habitat to 
another. It was the same with the wild lilac, which Day- 
light had sent to him from Mendocino County. It became 
part of the wildness of the ranch, and, after being helped for 
a season, was left to its own devices. They used to gather 
the seeds of the Cahfornia poppy and scatter them over their 
own acres, so that the orange-colored blossoms spangled the 
fields of mountain hay and prospered in flaming drifts in 
the fence corners and along the edges of the clearings. 

Dede, who had a fondness for cattails, established a 
fringe of them along the meadow stream, where they were 
left to fight it out with the water-cress. And when the 
latter was threatened with extinction. Daylight developed 
one of the shaded springs into his water-cress garden and 
declared war upon any invading cattail. On her wedding 
day Dede had discovered a long dog-tooth violet by the 
zigzag trail above the redwood spring, and here she con- 
tinued to plant more and more. The open hillside above the 
tiny meadow became a colony of Mariposa lilies. This was 
due mainly to her efforts, while Daylight, who rode with a 
short-handled axe on his saddle-bow, cleared the little man- 
zanita wood on the rocky hill of all its dead and dying and 
overcrowded weaklings. 



344 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

They did not labor at these tasks. Nor were they tasks. 
Merely in passing, they paused, from time to time, and lent 
a hand to nature. These flowers and shrubs grew of them- 
selves, and their presence was no violation of the natural 
environment. The man and the woman made no efifort to 
introduce a flower or shrub that did not of its own right be- 
long. Nor did they protect them from their enemies. The 
horses and the colts and the cows and the calves ran at pas- 
ture among them or over them, and flower or shrub had to 
take its chance. But the beasts were not noticeably destruc- 
tive, for they were few in number and the ranch was large. 
On the other hand. Daylight could have taken in fully a 
dozen horses to pasture, which would have earned him a 
dollar and a half per head per month. But this he refused 
to do, because of the devastation such close pasturing would 
produce. 

Ferguson came over to celebrate the housewarming that 
followed the achievement of the great stone fireplace. Day- 
light had ridden across the valley more than once to confer 
with him about the undertaking, and he was the only other 
present at the sacred function of lighting the first fire. By 
removing a partition, Dayhght had thrown two rooms into 
one, and this was the big living-room where Dede's treasures 
were placed — her books, and paintings and photographs, 
her piano, the Crouched Venus, the chafing-dish and all its 
glittering accessories. Already, in addition to her own wild- 
animal skins, were those of deer and coyote and one moun- 
tain-lion which Daylight had killed. The tanning he had 
done himself, slowly and laboriously, in frontier fashion. 

He handed the match to Dede, who struck it and lighted 
the fire. The crisp manzanita wood crackled as the flames 
leaped up and assailed the dry bark of the larger logs. Then 
she leaned in the shelter of her husband's arm, and the three 
stood and looked in breathless suspense. When Ferguson 
gave judgment, it was with beaming face and extended hand. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 345 

"She draws ! By crickey, she draws ! " he cried. 

He shook Daylight's hand ecstatically, and Daylight 
shook his with equal fervor, and, bending, kissed Dede on 
the lips. They were as exultant over the success of their 
simple handiwork as any great captain at astonishing vic- 
tory. In Ferguson's eyes was actually a suspicious moisture, 
while the woman pressed even more closely against the man 
whose achievement it was. He caught her up suddenly in 
his arms and whirled her away to the piano, cr3dng out: 
"Come on, Dede! The Gloria! The Gloria r 

And while the flames rose in the fireplace that worked, 
the triumphant strains of the Twelfth Mass rolled forth. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

Daylight had made no assertion of total abstinence, 
though he had not taken a drink for months after the day 
he resolved to let his business go to smash. Soon he 
proved himself strong enough to dare to take a drink with- 
out taking a second. On the other hand, with his coming 
to live in the country, had passed all desire and need for 
drink. He felt no yearning for it, and even forgot that it 
existed. Yet he refused to be afraid of it, and in town, on 
occasion, when invited by the storekeeper, would reply: 
"All right, son. If my taking a drink will make you happy, 
here goes. Whiskey for mine." 

But such a drink begat no desire for a second. It made no 
impression. He was too profoundly strong to be affected by 
a thimbleful. As he had prophesied to Dede, Burning Day- 
light, the city financier, had died a quick death on the ranch, 
and his younger brother, the DayUght from Alaska, had 
taken his place. The threatened inundation of fat had sub- 
sided, and all his old-time Indian leanness and litheness 
of muscle had returned. So, likewise, did the old slight 
hollows in his cheeks come back. For him they indicated 
the pink of physical condition. He became the acknowl- 
edged strong man of Sonoma Valley, the heaviest lifter and 
hardest winded among a husky race of farmer folk. And 
once a year he celebrated his birthday in the old-fashioned 
frontier way, challenging all the valley to come up the hill 
to the ranch and be put on its back. And a fair portion of 
the valley responded, brought the women-folk and children 
along, and picknicked for the day. 

346 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 347 

At first, when in need of ready cash, he had followed 
Ferguson's example of working at day's labor; but he was 
not long in gravitating to a form of work that was more 
stimulating and more satisfying, and that allowed him even 
more time for Dede and the ranch and the perpetual riding 
through the hills. Having been challenged by the black- 
smith, in a spirit of banter, to attempt the breaking of a 
certain incorrigible colt, he succeeded so signally as to earn 
quite a reputation as a horse-breaker. And soon he was 
able to earn whatever money he desired at this, to him, 
agreeable work. 

A sugar king, whose breeding farm and training stables 
were at Caliente, three miles away, sent for him in time of 
need, and, before the year was out, offered him the manage- 
ment of the stables. But Daylight smiled and shook his 
head. Furthermore, he refused to undertake the breaking 
of as many animals as were offered, "I'm sure not going 
to die from overwork," he assured Dede; and he accepted 
such work only when he had to have money. Later, he 
fenced off a small run in the pasture, where, from time to 
time, he took in a limited number of incorrigibles. 

"We've got the ranch and each other," he told his wife, 
"and I'd sooner ride with you to Hood Mountain any day 
than earn forty dollars. You can't buy sunsets, and loving 
wives, and cool spring water, and such folderols, with forty 
dollars; and forty million dollars can't buy back for me one 
day that I didn't ride with you to Hood Mountain." 

His life was eminently wholesome and natural. Early to 
bed, he slept like an infant and was up with the dawn. 
Always with something to do, and with a thousand little 
things that enticed but did not clamor, he was himself never 
overdone. Nevertheless, there were times when both he and 
Dede were not above confessing tiredness at bedtime after 
seventy or eighty miles in the saddle. Sometimes, when he 
had accumulated a little money, and when the season fav- 



348 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

ored, they woulcj mount their horses, with saddle-bags 
behind, and ride away over the wall of the valley and down 
into the other valleys. When night fell, they put up at the 
first convenient farm or village, and on the morrow they 
would ride on, without definite plan, merely continuing to 
ride on, day after day, until their money gave out and they 
were compelled to return. On such trips they would be 
gone anywhere from a week to ten days or two weeks, and 
once they managed a three weeks' trip. They even planned 
ambitiously some day when they were disgracefully pros- 
perous, to ride all the way up to Daylight's boyhood home 
in Eastern Oregon, stopping on the way at Dede's girlhood 
home in Siskiyou. And all the joys of anticipation were 
theirs a thousand times as they contemplated the detailed 
deUghts of this grand adventure. 

One day, stopping to mail a letter at the Glen Ellen post- 
office, they were hailed by the blacksmith. 

"Say, Daylight," he said, "a young fellow named Slosson 
sends you his regards. He came through in an auto, on the 
way to Santa Rosa. He wanted to know if you didn't live 
hereabouts, but the crowd with him was in a hurry. So he 
sent you his regards and said to tell you he'd taken your 
advice and was still going on breaking his own record.'* 

Daylight had long since told Dede of the incident. 

"Slosson?" he meditated, "Slosson? That must be the 
hammer-thrower. He put my hand down twice, the young 
scamp." He turned suddenly to Dede. "Say, it's only 
twelve miles to Santa Rosa, and the horses are fresh." 

She divined what was in his mind, of which his twinkling 
eyes and sheepish, boyish grin gave sufficient advertise- 
ment, and she smiled and nodded acquiescence. 

"We'll cut across by Bennett Valley," he said. "It's 
nearer that way." 

There was little difficulty, once in Santa Rosa, of finding 
Slosson. He and his party had registered at the Oberlin 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 349 

Hotel, and Daylight encountered the young hammer- 
thrower himself in the office. 

"Look here, son," Daylight announced, as soon as he 
had introduced Dede, "I've come to go you another flutter 
at that hand game. Here's a likely place." 

Slosson smiled and accepted. The two men faced each 
other, the elbows of their right arms on the counter, the 
hands clasped. Slosson's hand quickly forced backward 
and down. 

"You're the first man that ever succeeded in doing it," 
he said. "Let's try it again." 

"Sure," Daylight answered. "And don't forget, son, that 
you're the first man that put mine down. That's why I lit 
out after you to-day." 

Again they clasped hands, and again Slosson's hand went 
down. He was a broad-shouldered, heavy-muscled young 
giant, at least half a head taller than Dayhght, and he 
frankly expressed his chagrin and asked for a third trial. 
This time he steeled himself to the effort, and for a moment 
the issue was in doubt. With flushed face and set teeth he 
met the other's strength till his crackling muscles failed him. 
The air exploded sharply from his tensed lungs, as he re- 
laxed in surrender, and the hand dropped Umply down. 

"You're too many for me," he confessed. "I only hope 
you'll keep out of the hammer-throwing game." 

Daylight laughed and shook his head. 

"We might compromise, and each stay in his own class. 
You stick to hammer-throwing, and I'll go on turning down 
hands." 

But Slosson refused to accept defeat. 

"Say," he called out, as Daylight and Dede, astride their 
horses, were preparing to depart. "Say — do you mind if I 
look you up next year? I'd like to tackle you again." 

"Sure, son. You're welcome to a flutter any time. 
Though I give you fair warning that you'll have to go 



350 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

some. You'll have to train up, for I'm ploughing and 
chopping wood and breaking colts these days." 

Now and again, on the way home, Dede could hear her 
big boy-husband chuckling gleefully. As they halted their 
horses on the top of the divide out of Bennett Valley, in 
order to watch the sunset, he ranged alongside and slipped 
his arm around her waist. 

"Little woman," he said, "you're sure responsible for it 
all. And I leave it to you, if all the money in creation is 
worth as much as one arm hke that when it's got a sweet 
little woman hke this to go around." 

For of all his delights in the new life, Dede was his great- 
est. As he explained to her more than once, he had been 
afraid of love all his life only in the end to come to find it 
the greatest thing in the world. Not alone were the two 
well mated, but in coming to live on the ranch they had 
selected the best soil in which their love would prosper. In 
spite of her books and music, there was in her a wholesome 
simplicity and love of the open and natural, while Daylight, 
in every fibre of him, was essentially an open-air man. 

Of one thing in Dede, Daylight never got over marvelling 
about, and that was her efficient hands -— the hands that he 
had first seen taking down flying shorthand notes and tick- 
ing away at the typewriter; the hands that were firm to 
hold a magnificent brute like Bob, that wonderfully flashed 
over the keys of the piano, that were unhesitant in house- 
hold tasks, and that were twin miracles to caress and to run 
rippling fingers through his hair. But Daylight was not 
unduly uxorious. He lived his man's hfe just as she Hved 
her woman's life. There was proper division of labor in 
the work they individually performed. But the whole was 
entwined and woven into a fabric of mutual interest and 
consideration. He was as deeply interested in her cooking 
and her music as she was in his agricultural adventures in 
the vegetable garden. And he, who resolutely dechned to 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 351 

die of overwork, saw to it that she should likewise escape 
so dire a risk. 

In this connection, using his man's judgment and putting 
his man's foot down, he refused to allow her to be burdened 
with the entertaining of guests. For guests they had, es- 
pecially in the warm, long summers, and usually they were 
her friends from the city, who were put to camp in tents 
which they cared for themselves, and where, like true 
campers, they had also to cook for themselves. Perhaps 
only in California, where everybody knows camp life, would 
such a programme have been possible. But Daylight's 
steadfast contention was that his wife should not become 
cook, waitress, and chambermaid because she did not hap- 
pen to possess a household of servants. On the other hand, 
chafing-dish suppers in the big living-room for their camp- 
ing guests were a common happening, at which times Day- 
light allotted them their chores and saw that they were per- 
formed. For one who stopped only for the night it was 
different. Likewise it was different with her brother, back 
from Germany, and again able to sit a horse. On his vaca- 
tions he became the third in the family, and to him was 
given the building of the fires, the sweeping, and the wash- 
ing of the dishes. 

Daylight devoted himself to the lightening of Dede's 
labors, and it was her brother who incited him to utilize the 
splendid water-power of the ranch that was running to 
waste. It required Daylight's breaking of extra horses 
to pay for the materials, and the brother devoted a three 
weeks' vacation to assisting, and together they installed a 
Pelton wheel. Besides sawing wood and turning his lathe 
and grindstone. Daylight connected the power with the 
churn; but his great triumph was when he put his arm 
around Dede's waist and led her out to inspect a washing- 
machine, run by the Pelton wheel, which really worked 
and really washed clothes. 



352 BtJRNING DAYLIGHT 

Dede and Ferguson, between them, after a pvatient 
struggle, taught Daylight poetry, so that in the end he might 
have been often seen, sitting slack in the saddle and drop- 
ping down the mountain trails through the sun-flecked 
woods, chanting aloud Kipling's "Tomlinson," or, when 
sharpening his axe, singing into the whirhng grindstone 
Henley's "Song of the Sword." Not that he ever became 
consummately literary in the way his two teachers were. 
Beyond "Fra Lippo Lippi" and "Caliban and Setebos," he 
found nothing in Browning, while George Meredith was 
ever his despair. It was of his own initiative, however, that 
he invested in a violin, and practised so assiduously that in 
time he and Dede beguiled many a happy hour playing 
together after night had fallen. 

So all went well with this well-mated pair. Time never 
dragged. There were always new wonderful mornings and 
still cool twilights at the end of day; and ever a thousand 
interests claimed him, and his interests were shared by her. 
More thoroughly than he knew, had he come to a compre- 
hension of the relativity of things. In this new game he 
played he found in little things all the intensities of grati- 
fication and desire that he had found in the frenzied big 
things when he was a power and rocked half a continent 
with the fury of the blows he struck. With head and hand, 
at risk of life and limb, to bit and break a wild colt and win 
it to the service of man, was to him no less great an achieve- 
ment. And this new table on which he played the game 
was clean. Neither lying, nor cheating, nor hypocrisy was 
here. The other game had made for decay and death, 
while this new one made for clean strength and life. And 
so he was content, with Dede at his side, to watch the pro- 
cession of the days and seasons from the farm-house 
perched on the caiion-lip; to ride through crisp frosty 
mornings or under burning summer suns; and to shelter 
in the big room where blazed the logs in the fireplace he 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 353 

had built, while outside the world shuddered and struggled 
in the storm-clasp of a southeaster. 

Once only Dede asked him if he ever regretted, and his 
answer was to crush her in his arms and smother her lips 
with his. His answer, a minute later, took speech. 

"Little woman, even if you did cost thirty millions, you 
are sure the cheapest necessity of life I ever indulged in." 
And then he added, "Yes, I do have one regret, and a 
monstrous big one, too. I'd sure like to have the winning 
of you all over again. I'd like to go sneaking around the 
Piedmont hills looking for you. I'd like to meander into 
those rooms of yours at Berkeley for the first time. And 
there's no use talking, I'm plumb soaking with regret that 
I can't put my arms around you again that time you leaned 
your head on my breast and cried in the wind and rain." 



CHAPTER XXVII 

But there came the day, one year, in early April, when 
Dede sat in an easy chair on the porch, sewing on certain 
small garments, while Daylight read aloud to her. It was 
in the afternoon, and a bright sun was shining down on a 
world of new green. Along the irrigation channels of the 
vegetable garden streams of water were flowing, and now 
and again Daylight broke off from his reading to run out 
and change the flow of water. Also, he was teasingly inter- 
ested in the certain small garments on which Dede worked, 
while she was radiantly happy over them, though at times, 
when his tender fun was too insistent, she was rosily con- 
fused or affectionately resentful. 

From where they sat they could look out over the world. 
Like the curve of a scimitar blade, the Valley of the Moon 
stretched before them, dotted with farm-houses and varied 
by pasture-lands, hay-fields, and vineyards. Beyond rose 
the wall of the valley, every crease and wrinkle of which 
Dede and Daylight knew, and at one place, where the sun 
struck squarely, the white dump of the abandoned mine 
burned like a jewel. In the foreground, in the paddock by 
the barn, was Mab, full of pretty anxieties for the early 
spring foal that staggered about her on tottery legs. The 
air shimmered with heat, and altogether it was a lazy, bask- 
ing day. Quail whistled to their young from the thicketed 
hillside behind the house. There was a gentle cooing of 
pigeons, and from the green depths of the big caiion arose 
the sobbing wood note of a mourning dove. Once, there 
was a warning chorus from the foraging hens and a wild 

354 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 355 

rush for cover, as a hawk, high in the blue, cast its drifting 
shadow along the ground. 

It was this, perhaps, that aroused old hunting memories 
in Wolf. At any rate, Dede and Daylight became aware of 
excitement in the paddock, and saw harmlessly reenacted 
a grim old tragedy of the Younger World. Curiously eager, 
velvet-footed and silent as a ghost, sliding and gliding 
and crouching, the dog that was mere domesticated wolf 
stalked the enticing bit of young life that Mab had brought 
so recently into the world. And the mare, her own ancient 
instincts aroused and quivering, circled ever between the 
foal and this menace of the wild young days when all her 
ancestry had known fear of him and his hunting brethren. 
Once, she whirled and tried to kick him, but usually she 
strove to strike him with her fore-hoofs, or rushed upon 
him with open mouth and ears laid back in an effort to 
crunch his backbone between her teeth. And the wolf-dog, 
with ears flattened down and crouching, would slide silkily 
away, only to circle up to the foal from the other side and 
give cause to the mare for new alarm. Then Daylight, 
urged on by Dede's soHcitude, uttered a low threatening 
cry; and Wolf, drooping and sagging in all the body of him 
in token of his instant return to man's allegiance, slunk off 
behind the barn. 

It was a few minutes later that Daylight, breaking off 
from his reading to change the streams of irrigation, found 
that the water had ceased flowing. He shouldered a pick 
and shovel, took a hammer and a pipe-wrench from the 
tool-house, and returned to Dede on the porch. 

"I reckon I'll have to go down and dig the pipe out," he 
told her. "It's that slide that's threatened all winter. I 
guess she's come down at last." 

"Don't you read ahead, now," he warned, as he passed 
around the house and took the trail that led down the wall 
of the canon. 



356 BtTRNING DAYLIGHT 

Halfway down the trail, he came upon the slide. It was 
a small affair, only a few tons of earth and crumbling rock; 
but, starting from fifty feet above, it had struck the water- 
pipe with force sufficient to break it at a connection. Before 
proceeding to work, he glanced up the path of the slide, and 
he glanced with the eye of the earth-trained miner. And 
he saw what made his eyes startle and cease for the moment 
from questing farther. 

"Hello," he communed aloud, "look who's here." 

His glance moved on up the steep broken surface, and 
across it from side to side. Here and there, in places, small 
twisted manzanitas were rooted precariously, but in the 
main, save for weeds and grass, that portion of the cafion 
was bare. There were signs of a surface that had shifted 
often as the rains poured a flow of rich eroded soil from 
above over the lip of the caiion. 

"A true fissure vein, or I never saw one," he proclaimed 
softly. 

And as the old hunting instincts had aroused that day in 
the wolf-dog, so in him recrudesced all the old hot desire 
of gold-hunting. Dropping the hammer and pipe-wrench, 
but retaining pick and shovel, he climbed up the slide to 
where a vague line of out-jutting but mostly soil-covered 
rock could be seen. It was all but indiscernible, but his 
practised eye had sketched the hidden formation which it 
signified. Here and there, along this wall of the vein, he 
attacked the crumbling rock with the pick and shovelled 
the encumbering soil away. Several times he examined 
this rock. So soft was some of it that he could break it in 
his fingers. Shifting a dozen feet higher up, he again at- 
tacked with pick and shovel. And this time, when he 
rubbed the soil from a chunk of rock and looked, he straight- 
ened up suddenly, gasping with delight. And then, like 
a deer at a drinking pool in fear of its enemies, he flung a 
quick glance around to see if any eye were gazing upon him. 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 357 

He grinned at his own foolishness and returned to his exam- 
ination of the chunk. A slant of sunlight fell on it, and it 
was all aglitter with tiny specks of unmistakable free gold. 

"From the grass roots down," he muttered in an awe- 
stricken voice, as he swung his pick into the yielding surface. 

He seemed to undergo a transformation. No quart of 
cocktails had ever put such a flame in his cheeks nor such 
a fire in his eyes. As he worked, he was caught up in the 
old passion that had ruled most of his life. A frenzy seized 
him that markedly increased from moment to moment. 
He worked like a madman, till he panted from his exertions 
and the sweat dripped from his face to the ground. He 
quested across the face of the slide to the opposite wall of 
the vein and back again. And, midway, he dug down 
through the red volcanic earth that had washed from the 
disintegrating hill above, until he uncovered quartz, rotten 
quartz, that broke and crumbled in his hands and showed 
to be alive with free gold. 

Sometimes he started small slides of earth that covered 
up his work and compelled him to dig again. Once, he was 
swept fifty feet down the caiion-side; but he floundered 
and scrambled up again without pausing for breath. He 
hit upon quartz that was so rotten that it was almost like 
clay, and here the gold was richer than ever. It was a 
veritable treasure chamber. For a hundred feet up and 
down he traced the walls of the vein. He even climbed 
over the canon-lip to look along the brow of the hill for 
signs of the outcrop. But that could wait, and he hurried 
back to his find. 

He toiled on in the same mad haste, until exhaustion and 
an intolerable ache in his back compelled him to pause. He 
straightened up with even a richer piece of gold-laden 
quartz. Stooping, the sweat from his forehead had fallen to 
the ground. It now ran into his eyes, blinding him. He 
wiped it from him with the back of his hand and returned to 



358 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

a scrutiny of the gold. It would run thirty thousand to the 
ton, fifty thousand, anything — he knew that. And as he 
gazed upon the yellow lure, and panted for air, and wiped 
the sweat away, his quick vision leaped and set to work. 
He saw the spur-track that must run up from the valley and 
across the upland pastures, and he ran the grades and built 
the bridge that would span the canon, until it was real 
before his eyes. Across the canon was the place for the 
mill, and there he erected it; and he erected, also, the end- 
less chain of buckets, suspended from a cable and operated 
by gravity, that would carry the ore across the caiion to 
the quartz-crusher. Likewise, the whole mine grew before 
him and beneath him — tunnels, shafts, and galleries, 
and hoisting plants. The blasts of the miners were in his 
ears, and from across the canon he could hear the roar of 
the stamps. The hand that held the lump of quartz was 
trembhng, and there was a tired, nervous palpitation ap- 
parently in the pit of his stomach. It came to him abrupt- 
ly that what he wanted was a drink — whiskey, cocktails, 
anything, a drink. And even then, with this new hot 
yearning for the alcohol upon him, he heard, faint and far, 
drifting down the green abyss of the caiion, Dede's voice, 
crying: — 

''Here, chick, chick, chick, chick, chick! Here, chick ^ 
chick, chick!" 

He was astounded at the lapse of time. She had left her 
sewing on the porch and was feeding the chickens prepara- 
tory to getting supper. The afternoon was gone. He could 
not conceive that he had been away that long. 

Again came the call: "Here, chick, chick, chick, chick, 
chick! Here, chick, chick, chick!" 

It was the way she always called — first five, and then 
three. He had long since noticed it. And from these 
thoughts of her arose other thoughts that caused a great 
fear slowly to grow in his face. For it seemed to him that 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 359 

he had almost lost her. Not once had he thought of her in 
those frenzied hours, and for that much, at least, had she 
truly been lost to him. 

He dropped the piece of quartz, slid down the slide, and 
started up the trail, running heavily. At the edge of the 
clearing he eased down and almost crept to a point of van- 
tage whence he could peer out, himself unseen. She was 
feeding the chickens, tossing to them handfuls of grain and 
laughing at their antics. 

The sight of her seemed to relieve the panic fear into 
which he had been flung, and he turned and ran back down 
the trail. Again he climbed the shde, but this time he 
climbed higher, carrying the pick and shovel with him. 
And again he toiled frenziedly, but this time with a different 
purpose. He worked artfully, loosing slide after slide of 
the red soil and sending it streaming down and covering up 
all he had uncovered, hiding from the light of day the 
treasure he had discovered. He even went into the woods 
and scooped armfuls of last year's fallen leaves which he 
scattered over the slide. But this he gave up as a vain task; 
and he sent more slides of soil down upon the scene of his 
labor, until no sign remained of the out-jutting walls of the 
vein. 

Next he repaired the broken pipe, gathered his tools 
together, and started up the trail. He walked slowly, feel- 
ing a great weariness, as of a man who had passed through 
a frightful crisis. He put the tools away, took a great drink 
of the water that again flowed through the pipes, and sat 
down on the bench by the open kitchen door. Dede was 
inside, preparing supper, and the sound of her footsteps 
gave him a vast content. 

He breathed the balmy mountain air in great gulps, like 
a diver fresh-risen from the sea. And, as he drank in the 
air, he gazed with all his eyes at the clouds and sky and 
valley, as if he were drinking in that, too, along with the air. 



360 BURNING DAYLIGHT 

Dede did not know he had come back, and at times he 
turned his head and stole glances in at her — at her effi- 
cient hands, at the bronze of her brown hair that smoul- 
dered with fire when she crossed the path of sunshine that 
streamed through the window, at the promise of her figure 
that shot through him a pang most strangely sweet and 
sweetly dear. He heard her approaching the door, and kept 
his head turned resolutely toward the valley. And next, he 
thrilled, as he had always thrilled, when he felt the caress- 
ing gentleness of her fingers through his hair. 

"I didn't know you were back," she said. "Was it 
serious?" 

"Pretty bad, that slide," he answered, still gazing away 
and thrilling to her touch. "More serious than I reckoned. 
But I've got the plan. Do you know what I'm going to do? 
— I'm going to plant eucalyptus all over it. They'll hold 
it. I'll plant them thick as grass, so that even a hungry 
rabbit can't squeeze between them; and when they get their 
roots agoing, nothing in creation will ever move that dirt 
again." 

"Why, is it as bad as that?" 

He shook his head. 

"Nothing exciting. But I'd sure like to see any blamed 
old slide get the best of me, that's all. I'm going to seal that 
slide down so that it'll stay there for a million years. And 
when the last trump sounds, and Sonoma Mountain and all 
the other mountains pass into nothingness, that old slide 
will be still a-standing there, held up by the roots." 

He passed his arm around her and pulled her down on his 
knees. 

"Say, little woman, you sure miss a lot by living here on 
the ranch — music, and theatres, and such things. Don't 
you ever have a hankering to drop it all and go back?" 

So great was his anxiety that he dared not look at her, 
and when she laughed and shook her head he was aware of 



BURNING DAYLIGHT 361 

a great relief. Also, he noted the undiminished youth that 
rang through that same old-time boyish laugh of hers. 

*'Say," he said, with sudden fierceness, "don't you go 
fooling around that slide until after I get the trees in and 
rooted. It's mighty dangerous, and I sure can't afford to 
lose you now." 

He drew her lips to his and kissed her hungrily and 
passionately, 

"What a lover!" she said; and pride in him and in her 
own womanhood was in her voice. 

"Look at that, Dede." He removed one encircling arm 
and swept it in a wide gesture over the valley and the moun- 
tains beyond. "The Valley of the Moon — a good name, 
a good name. Do you know, when I look out over it all, 
and think of you and of all it means, it kind of makes me 
ache in the throat, and I have things in my heart I can't 
find the words to say, and I have a feeling that I can almost 
understand Browning and those other high-flying poet-fel- 
lows. Look at Hood Mountain there, just where the sun's 
striking. It was down in that crease that we found the 
spring." 

"And that was the night you didn't milk the cows till 
ten o'clock," she laughed. "And if you keep me here 
much longer, supper won't be any earher than it was that 
night." 

Both arose from the bench, and Daylight caught up the 
milk-pail from the nail by the door. He paused a moment 
longer to look out over the valley. 

"It's sure grand," he said. 

"It's sure grand," she echoed, laughing joyously at him 
and with him and herself and all the world, as she passed 
in through the door. 

And Daylight, like the old man he once had met, himself 
went down the hill through the fires of sunset with a milk- 
pail on his arm. 



^3^ /i 



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35?3 Burning Daylight 

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1910